Hundreds of thousands of social care staff are working with vulnerable adults before they have been given a full Criminal Records Bureau check.
Employers are appointing people who have been checked against the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list only, instead of an enhanced CRB check, to tackle high turnover and vacancy rates.
The list, which is managed by the Department of Health, is a register of people banned from working with vulnerable adults. There are 2,211 people on the list.
Povafirst checks, which were introduced in July 2004 and are carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau, are supposed to be used only in “very exceptional circumstances”.
But Community Care has found that, between November 2004 and December 2006, the CRB processed 441,192 applications, and experts estimate that it can take at least six weeks for a full CRB check to be processed. During this time, people are eligible to work under the supervision of a named person. All Povafirst applications are supposed to be completed within three days.