Children’s home providers will lose millions of pounds this year
because of the Criminal Records Bureau fiasco, the Association of
Independent Childcare Providers has warned.
David Ayers, chairperson of the association, whose owners run about
10 per cent of children’s homes, said each of the 20 providers in
AICP were likely to face added average costs of about £200,000
this year as a result of delays in carrying out police checks on
Ayers estimated that the cost to his members could already top
£4m. He said his own company, Castle Homes, had lost
£350,000 since April.
The delays – enhanced CRB disclosures have taken up to four months
to be processed – have caused some existing homes to be closed and
plans for new ones to be scrapped.
Many companies have also lost new staff who were unable to start
work until outstanding checks were returned, with the vacancies
having to be filled by more expensive agency staff.
One such company, Hillcrest Care, of Chichester, West Sussex, spent
£10,000 in agency fees over four months while it waited for a
newly appointed manager to be checked by the CRB.
Richard Greenwell, Hillcrest managing director, said: “We have
spent about £400,000 this year on agency fees, which is much
more than ever before and a significant amount of that is through
delays caused by police checks.”
Providers said that variations in the way regional National Care
Standards Commission offices were handling CRB checks were
hampering them even further.
In Middlesbrough, on Teesside, a children’s home set up by
independent provider Five Rivers has had its opening delayed for
three months because the NCSC insisted that the home manager needed
a new police check even though he had recently been checked by the
CRB for manager posts at other homes.
The NCSC told the company’s regional operations manager, Kevin
Gallagher, that it would not accept his existing check because
managers of new homes had to be registered for specific
Middlesbrough Council said the delay had caused the breakdown of
two child placements who were due to be cared for in the home.