Records bureau may take control of banned worker list in Bichard fallout

    The Criminal Records Bureau could take on responsibility for
    maintaining a new registration scheme for people who are unsuitable
    for work with children.

    In the progress report published last week on Sir Michael
    Bichard’s inquiry recommendations, it is argued that the CRB would
    at the very least need to be connected to the scheme or “could take
    the role on itself”.

    Since its 2002 launch, the vetting system already operated by
    the CRB has been plagued by problems, such as backlogs of
    applications and lengthy delays in processing them.

    Flaws in the system, which allow people to submit false
    information on their application to the CRB, were exposed during
    Bichard’s inquiry into the failures that led to Ian Huntley’s
    appointment as a school caretaker.
    Witnesses told the inquiry that the CRB had no way to verify that
    addresses dating back five years – determining which police forces
    are contacted for information – were correct and was therefore
    forced to rely on the “honesty of the individual”.

    The revelation, which was greeted with shock, was addressed by
    Bichard’s recommendation 26. This calls for registered bodies to be
    given guidance on how to check that applicants have given accurate
    information.

    The government has responded by saying that the police local
    cross check system, which holds an index of information on
    individuals kept by local forces, should be consulted in addition
    to sending the vetting notifications to the forces identified by
    address information.

    But the report warns that this will only partly close the
    address loophole because the system database will be updated only
    periodically.

    Guidance for registered bodies acting as intermediaries between
    applicants and the CRB will be issued next month. A new application
    form is also being drawn up.

    Legal changes included in the Serious Organised Crime and Police
    Bill now going through parliament would give the CRB access to
    further databases to help with the vetting process, including those
    for checking passports and driving licences.

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