Vetting agency given more time

The Criminal Records Bureau has been given longer to process
applications for people working with children or vulnerable adults,
it emerged last week.

Home secretary David Blunkett told MPs that he had doubled the
target time from three to six weeks.

Blunkett admitted to the House of Commons home affairs select
committee that the performance of the CRB had been “unacceptable”.
But he added that Capita, the private company that has a £400m
government contract to run the vetting system, would not be

Problems including huge backlogs of unprocessed checks have dogged
the bureau since it was launched in April. Two weeks ago the
government created an independent review team to examine why it was
operating so slowly.

In the summer a Coventry social worker demanded almost £1,500
compensation after she lost three weeks’ wages because of delays in
her check being processed (news, page 11, 22 August).

Another social worker who was offered a new job in February pending
police clearance is now considering similar action.

Carin Simpson said her present employer was unlikely to renew her
contract next month because he was aware that she was waiting for
CRB clearance to take up another job.

She has contacted the CRB 10 times to find out why her application
has been delayed but so far assurances from helpline staff have not
been fulfilled.

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