Blunkett announces revamp of vetting procedures

Changes to the system of vetting all people who work with
children will be introduced in light of the Bichard Inquiry
findings, home secretary David Blunkett has confirmed.

Blunkett told Community Care that, while the Criminal
Records Bureau could not be blamed for the deaths of Holly Wells
and Jessica Chapman, lessons needed to be learned and
recommendations made by inquiry chairperson Sir Michael Bichard for
improving checking policies would be implemented.

This will almost certainly mean changes in the way the CRB
works, after Bichard requested it to take urgent action last week
to improve checks on job applications.

Earlier evidence revealed that a registered body responsible for
countersigning applications for CRB disclosures had failed to
verify Ian Huntley’s addresses for the five years leading up
to his application (news, page 12, 18 March). Information
commissioner Richard Thomas also admitted there were flaws in the
vetting procedures, which meant “those who shouldn’t get
through can”.

Last week, Vince Gaskell, chief executive of the CRB, said there
was nothing in its guidance to registered bodies that explained
they must check addresses provided by applicants. The addresses
determine which police forces check an applicant’s name.

He said a new system was being piloted in three police forces to
tackle this but it would not be used nationally until the autumn.
He agreed it would be good to tighten the system urgently.

Bichard said as the inquiry closed this week that he wanted to
reconvene it six months after his report is published to check his
proposals were being implemented.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.