Regulator puts onus on employers to plug foreign criminal checks gap

The increasing number of overseas workers who begin working in social care soon after arriving in the UK are not having their home criminal records checked, Community Care has discovered.

But despite this, the General Social Care Council will be relying on domiciliary care managers to ensure the suitability of workers they employ when it starts registering the group this year or in early 2008.

The Criminal Records Bureau is unable to access criminal records from abroad so these will not show up in newly arrived employees’ CRB checks, which are mandatory under the national minimum standards.

UK workforce development agency Skills for Care and Development said Home Office figures showed 12,610 people from the A8 countries – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – began work as care assistants and home carers between May 2004 and 30 June 2006.

The GSCC said it would be “requiring appropriate endorsement for domiciliary care workers’ suitability, usually from the registered manager of the domiciliary care agency who has recruited [them]” as a condition of registration.

Chief executive of the English Community Care Association Martin Green (pictured) criticised the onus placed on employers, adding: “The government is investing significant amounts of money in a range of agencies that are supposed to be assuring the quality of staff.

“Yet on fundamental issues they seem incapable of discharging their responsibilities and are placing them on the shoulders of employers who are not funded to deal with them.”

Peter Cullimore, chair of the nurses and carers sector group at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, which represents many domiciliary care agencies, said: “It is a tremendous responsibility on the agency and everybody would hope that a more global arrangement for checks will be introduced.”

No safeguard
“In order to meet the national minimum standards you have to make sure there has been a check with the Criminal Records Bureau. This means that if someone steps off a plane at 9am, and has already arranged where they are going to stay or live, and they turn up at an agency at 11am and complete a CRB check, the only thing it will show is that the person lives at the address they provided. So they are a waste of time and a waste of money.”

Related articles
Lewis warns speed of home care staff registration will depend on spending review

Employment agencies: regulation doubts persist as overseas staff go unchecked and information about UK staff’s records is not passed on

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Sally Gillen




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