£150m hike in cost of criminal checks

The cost of vetting applications by the Criminal Records Bureau has
risen by £150m, the House of Commons public accounts committee
was told.

Capita, the company responsible for running the Criminal Records
Bureau on behalf of the Home Office, originally submitted a bid of
just under £250m for the 10-year contract. Other bids came in
at £100m more than Capita’s.

But the system crashed after Capita underestimated the number of
people who would use postal applications.

The company thought 85 per cent would be made through a call centre
and that just 15 per cent would be paper based.

Vince Gaskell, chief executive of the CRB, told the committee that
the actual cost of the 10-year project would be about £400m.

A spokesperson for the Home Office insisted that the value of the
contract had always been £400m and that the increase was due
to the systems needed to cope with the volume of paper

Meanwhile, the government has also revealed that the CRB has
incorrectly linked nearly 200 people with criminal records that
they do not have.

In a written answer to the Liberal Democrats’ home affairs
spokesperson Mark Oaten, it emerged that 193 people had been
accidentally linked to crimes recorded on the Police National

Mistakes occurred either because the name was similar or the same
as someone else’s or because their name had been used fraudulently
by a criminal.

A Home Office spokesperson said a “tiny percentage – 0.007 per
cent” of the 2.7 million checks carried out had been problematic.

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