Unison criticises government over new inspection body

Unison has joined forces with nurses to criticise the
government’s decision to merge the care standards commission with
the Social Services Inspectorate, writes Sally

In a joint letter to health secretary Alan Milburn, Unison and
the Royal College of Nursing said the move has “caused immense
concern and anxiety to the recently transferred staff”.

The reorganisation, which is likely to happen in 2004, was
announced just three weeks after the National Care Standards
Commission began work in April.

The letter adds that the decision has had a negative impact on
the commitment and loyalty of staff, many of whom had been unhappy
about being moved from local government and health authorities into
the NCSC. They “now feel that they have been let down very badly by

In the letter, sent last week, Unison and the RCN warn that the
change is likely to affect the recruitment of the extra staff
needed to meet performance targets.

They are now calling for a meeting with Milburn to “explain the
damage” that the announcement has caused.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Records Bureau, set up in March to
protect vulnerable people by allowing employers to access to
criminal records of potential employees, is facing criticism from
the voluntary sector over the way it processes applications.

Representatives from the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations, the National Association of Voluntary Bureau and the
National Association for Council for Voluntary Service met criminal
justice minister Keith Bradley this week to raise their concerns
about the CRB.

NCVO parliamentary officer Richard Hebditch said many
organisations found the new system, which involves them contacting
a local umbrella organisation which will apply to the CRB on their
behalf, confusing.

It has also emerged that since it was set up just over two
months ago, the troubled organisation has made only 10,000
disclosures, despite receiving 57,000 applications. Of those,
nearly half – 4,000 – were made last week, following
the recruitment of an extra 30 staff to its call centre and an
increase in work hours from 14 to 24 hours.

A spokesperson for the home office admitted the CRB had suffered
“teething troubles” but said they were now addressing them.












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