The government’s fast-track vetting service for adult care workers
has failed to carry out checks quickly enough in its first few
months of operation.
Residential and domiciliary care providers told Community
Care they had had to wait more than two weeks for preliminary
protection of vulnerable adult – or PovaFirst – checks to be
carried out on new staff.
The checks were introduced when the Pova scheme was launched on 26
July to enable care homes and domiciliary care agencies to employ
staff while they waited for full checks, which can take more than a
The scheme, run by the Criminal Records Bureau, checks that
prospective employees are not included on the list of people banned
from working with vulnerable adults. An e-mail should be sent to
employers within 72 hours of an application being received
confirming whether the person is allowed to start work or not.
Despite government guidance stating that employers should only
apply for PovaFirst checks in “exceptional circumstances”, the CRB
has been flooded with requests by employers anxious not to lose
prospective employees to other jobs.
Anchor Homes director Barbara Laing, who said it was taking between
12 and 14 days to get PovaFirst checks back, insisted it was not
exceptional to need an employee to start work as soon as
The Home Office admitted the CRB had not met its targets for
processing checks in the first few weeks of PovaFirst’s operation,
but insisted it was now completing 98 per cent within 48 hours.