Council leaders and safety campaigners have condemned government plans to relax the criminal checks designed to protect passengers from dangerous taxi drivers. Currently, prospective taxi and private car hire drivers must pass an enhanced criminal record bureau (CRB) check, which gathers information from local police records, the Police National Computer, child protection and sex offenders registers. The checks are repeated every three years to satisfy licensing authorities that these drivers do not pose a risk.
Under the Protection of Freedoms Bill, they would only be entitled to a ‘Standard’ CRB check which only includes convictions, cautions and reprimands, and would not show if they were barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. Transport for London, the capital’s licensing authority, rejected 240 drivers between 2002 and 2008 after enhanced checks uncovered incidents of rape, terrorist activities, organised crime and drug dealing. They say these incidents would have been missed by less rigorous checks. Continue reading Taxi Drivers no longer eligible for eCRB
The new Police National Database ((PND) will be launched nationally on 23 June 2011. The information held on the PND is not new information but comes from existing force systems that support force intelligence, crime, domestic abuse, child abuse and custody business areas. The PND now offers forces direct access to that information, and details of intelligence about vehicles, locations and events.
A case study demonstrating the benefits for police users working in child protection is available here.
Only Enhanced Disclosures will contain reference to any ‘relevant and proportional information’ held by local police forces, so employers will need to utilise safer recruitment and other HR policies to ensure that people working on the periphery of Regulated Activity are appropriate to do so. Continue reading Launch of Police National Database
The Daily Mail reported on a press release by the Manifesto Club about the scale of volunteer vetting. “Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that almost a million checks were made last year, a six-fold increase since the CRB was launched in 2002.”
The Club, which campaigns against over-regulation, claims that many local authorities – even Tory ones – are still demanding ‘blanket’ vetting of volunteers. Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club, said: ‘The Government has made some fine statements criticising over-use of the CRB checks but these haven’t affected anything on the ground. ‘CRB checking is leading to the collapse of valuable community services and the loss of the best and most generous volunteers in our communities.’
A Home Office spokesman said the CRB was working to restore ‘proportionality’ to its service and added: ‘We are also clear that there are occasions that these checks are vital to protect public safety.’
Daily Mail Article
An alliance of Sports Governing Bodies are challenging the new definition of Regulated Activity that is emerging from study of the Protection of Freedoms Bill. Some of the proposed details are open to interpretation and will have significant impact on established practice and policies. For instance :
- Regulated Activity will no longer include any supervised teaching, training or instruction. In a sporting context, this requires clear definition. as the environment is so different to a school. The Faith sector are also likely to be unhappy with the implications of this change.
- Current proposals are that only the applicant will receive the CRB disclosure. Clarity is needed on how National Sports Governing Bodies, and other professional regulators will receive this
- There will be a charge for the updating service. How this will work for volunteers and whether they will still be able to get checks for free is not clear.
Continue reading Sport challenges safeguarding changes
On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:
Click to play
See also our page tracking stakeholder comments
An article in the Telegraph pre-empts the announcement about the results of the criminal records regime review by Sunita Mason and the parallel one into the Vetting & Barring Scheme. Headline: “An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted.” Continue reading CRB & ISA to merge into new body
Councils in Kent and East Sussex have been accused of carrying out unjustified Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for job applicants. Who the Councils are checking: Continue reading Unjustified CRB checks challenged