Records bureau may take control of banned worker list in Bichard fallout

The Criminal Records Bureau could take on responsibility for
maintaining a new registration scheme for people who are unsuitable
for work with children.

In the progress report published last week on Sir Michael
Bichard’s inquiry recommendations, it is argued that the CRB would
at the very least need to be connected to the scheme or “could take
the role on itself”.

Since its 2002 launch, the vetting system already operated by
the CRB has been plagued by problems, such as backlogs of
applications and lengthy delays in processing them.

Flaws in the system, which allow people to submit false
information on their application to the CRB, were exposed during
Bichard’s inquiry into the failures that led to Ian Huntley’s
appointment as a school caretaker.
Witnesses told the inquiry that the CRB had no way to verify that
addresses dating back five years – determining which police forces
are contacted for information – were correct and was therefore
forced to rely on the “honesty of the individual”.

The revelation, which was greeted with shock, was addressed by
Bichard’s recommendation 26. This calls for registered bodies to be
given guidance on how to check that applicants have given accurate

The government has responded by saying that the police local
cross check system, which holds an index of information on
individuals kept by local forces, should be consulted in addition
to sending the vetting notifications to the forces identified by
address information.

But the report warns that this will only partly close the
address loophole because the system database will be updated only

Guidance for registered bodies acting as intermediaries between
applicants and the CRB will be issued next month. A new application
form is also being drawn up.

Legal changes included in the Serious Organised Crime and Police
Bill now going through parliament would give the CRB access to
further databases to help with the vetting process, including those
for checking passports and driving licences.

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