Low paid staff forced to pay for criminal checks

Low paid social care staff are being asked to pay the cost of
their own Criminal Records Bureau checks, writes Sally

Care home workers, who are among the most poorly paid in the
sector, are being expected to pay the fee which for some amounts to
a day’s wage.

The fees are set to rise from £24 to £28 for a
standard check or disclosure, and from £29 to £33 for
enhanced checks. The increase follows a doubling of the rates in
July last year.

At the annual conference of the training organisation Topss
England, delegates complained that some employers would not meet
the costs of the vetting system, which was acting as a deterrent to
people entering the workforce.

Shadow minister for women Caroline Spelman, who spoke on
inequalities in pay, said she was aware that this problem was also
badly affecting the voluntary sector, which was having trouble
attracting volunteers.

It also emerged that some social workers and care home managers
who are required to register with the General Social Care Council
are paying their own registration fees.

Unison has negotiated, as part of the nationally agreed terms
and conditions, that staff employed by councils should not have to
pay for CRB checks or GSCC registration.

But vice–chairperson of the social services sub-committee
of Unison Jude Lattan said the union had an increasing number of
members employed in the private sector, who are not covered by the

She said that Unison was calling for a “tweak” to
the Care Standards Act so that all employers footed the bill for
the checks.

The Criminal Records Bureau was cticised by the National Audit
Office this week for still failing to deliver the service planned
when it was set up.

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