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To ask the Secretary of State for Health
(1) what measures he proposes to take to overcome delays in processing applications for screening criminal records of care home workers;
(2) what action his Department proposes to take to prevent the prosecution of care home managers as a result of the screening for criminal records of care home workers not being able to be completed due to the backlog of applications for screening; and if he will make a statement.
This Department and the National Care Standards Commission are in close contact with the Home Office and the Criminal Records Bureau about the processing of applications. In order to improve the throughput of applications the bureau is currently recruiting additional staff and redeploying others over 100 in all. The bureau is also reviewing its application processes to streamline them where possible without compromising security, for example returning incorrectly completed forms to the registered body before the application is entered onto the system.
The decision as to whether or not to prosecute a registered provider or registered manager of a care home for employing someone in the home without receiving a criminal records disclosure as required under regulation 19 of the Care Homes Regulations 2001, will be a matter for the National Care Standards Commission. We expect the commission to consider each case separately. In doing so it will need to determine what other checks the employer undertook before employing the worker and whether or not they would have been in breach of other regulations or conditions of registration relating to staff numbers, or the health and welfare of service users, if they did not fill the vacancy. Where a registered person employs someone and deliberately fails to require that person to apply for a disclosure from the bureau we would expect the commission to seek prosecution for breach of the relevant requirements.