Employers complain of poor service from records bureau

A third of employers using the Criminal Records Bureau say the
information provided is not always accurate and a quarter are
dissatisfied with its service, according to a new survey,
writes Derren Hayes.

The findings are worrying for child protection agencies and could
also have implications for employees if inaccuracies in their CRB
disclosures delay the take-up of a job offer or result in it being

The study was published by the IRS Employment Review
journal last month.

Maggie Jones, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary
Child Care Organisations, says that employers are becoming cautious
about setting a start date. “We don’t consider appointing people
until the check comes back, while some organisations will allow
people to work supervised.”

Jones says employees may have to hand in their notice – or leave
their current job – before the new job offer is confirmed.

There is a greater chance of mistakes being made on the disclosure
the more applicants have moved, says Jones.

Les Bright, from charity Action on Elder Abuse, says it is
unsurprising the CRB sometimes gives out wrong information. “People
have the same names and similar circumstances. I just hope that in
speeding up doing checks they haven’t sacrificed accuracy.”

Home Office figures show 0.07 per cent of applicants were
mistakenly matched against conviction information held by police
because of similar personal details to someone with a criminal

A Home Office spokesperson says: “These cases are regrettable,
however we err on the side of caution in these cases, precisely to
ensure that the individuals do not try to claim they have no
conviction when in fact they may have.”

But with more than a third of employers in the survey saying CRB
checks are likely to increase unfair discrimination against
ex-offenders, the price of mistakenly labelling someone as such
could be high.

But Frank Ursell, chief executive of the Registered Nursing Home
Association which processes applications on behalf of other
organisations, says most mistakes are made by applicants when
filling in the form.

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