Campaigners sound alarm over plan to allow staff to work before checks

Older people who use domiciliary care services face an increased
risk of abuse if “cynical” plans to relax criminal records checks
are introduced, Action on Elder Abuse has warned.

Last week, the Department of Health proposed scrapping rules that
prevent new domiciliary care staff – along with care home and
nursing agency staff – working until a Criminal Records Bureau
check is completed.

The move follows pressure from care home owners, who have said the
ban severely affects their ability to recruit staff (news, page 10,
18 September). Under the proposals, domiciliary care agency staff
could begin work prior to completion of a CRB check if they have
had three days’ training.

Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of AEA, warned the proposals “have
a level of complacency that borders on the ludicrous and the

He said care staff with criminal convictions were already beating
the checks – in one recent court case a worker had 14 convictions
for fraud.

“There are 4,800 domiciliary care agencies and 80 per cent cannot
meet the National Care Standards Commission’s minimum standards.
There will be direct abuse as a consequence of this,” he added.

However, the plans were welcomed by independent care home owners.

Barry Hartley, vice-president of the National Care Homes
Association, said the current system was seeing potential employees
getting other jobs before checks came through. “A lot of people who
work in our industry want the job now, not in four months’ time.”

The DoH insists there would be no changes to the rules if loopholes
were identified.

The consultation paper says that restrictions can only be lifted if
a care provider risks operating with illegally low staffing

But staff working with vulnerable clients would not be able to
begin work prior to the completion of a Protection of Vulnerable
Adults (Pova) check. As Pova checks are expected to take as long to
process as CRB disclosures, the DoH is considering introducing
interim Pova checks which would arrive within days.

– Consultation from

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