Charities working with vulnerable adults have welcomed the
introduction of criminal records checks for all home care workers,
announced by the government this month.
From October 1, enhanced disclosure checks will be needed before a
new domiciliary care or nurse agency worker can take up their
Checks on domiciliary care and nursing agency staff were postponed
indefinitely last November when it became apparent that the
Criminal Records Bureau was unable to cope with demand (news, page
10, 7 November).
For existing home care staff, applications for checks will need to
be submitted to the CRB between 1 October and 30 November and will
be processed by the end of next June.
Deadlines for checks for care home workers employed before 1 April
2002, which were also postponed in November, have been brought
forward from 31 October 2004 to 30 June 2004.
They will be carried out at the standard level of disclosure “in
order to make the best use of the CRB’s increased capacity”, said
the Home Office.
The new deadlines were announced alongside news that disclosures
would more than double in price from 1 July because the cost of
doing the checks remained higher than originally expected, despite
recent improvements in the CRB’s performance. The cost for enhanced
disclosures is set to rise from £13 to £29 and standard
ones from £12 to £24 (news, page 8, 12 June).
United Kingdom Home Care Association chairperson Bill McClimont
said that, although his organisation welcomed the introduction of
checks for domiciliary care workers, it was concerned by the hike
“We are outraged at the increase in prices for enhanced
disclosures, the costs of which will inevitably have to pass from
home care providers to service users. As many users are funded by
the public purse, the effect will be circular,” he said.
Sian Vasey, a director of the National Centre for Independent
Living, also welcomed the checks but warned against service users
seeing a check as a guarantee that they would receive care from a
reputable worker. “Disabled people do need to be aware that just
because somebody does not have a criminal record does not mean that
they are squeaky clean,” she said.