I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of the Criminal Records Bureau's corporate and business plan for 2003–04. After a difficult first seven months of operations, the business plan builds on the steady improvements in performance since last autumn. The average number of disclosures issued each week since October stands at 40,000 compared with 24,500 a week last August. Turnaround times have reduced from over eight weeks to under five and the number of aged applications over six weeks old (and not awaiting further information from the applicant) has been reduced from a peak of 76,000 to under 10,000.
For 2003–04, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has set the CRB challenging but realistic service standards which take into account the experience of the first year of operating. The CRB will now seek to process 90 per cent of applications for a standard disclosure within two weeks and 90 per cent of applications for an enhanced disclosure within four weeks.
As a result of the service improvements in recent months, the CRB is able to increase its capacity to 60,000 disclosures a week and consequently it can now commence criminal record checks on care workers postponed last November (Official Report,
Subject to consultation, the programme for introducing checks will be as follows:
Existing care home staff (care home staff who were in post just before
The deadline for checks for this group will be brought forward from
Domiciliary care agency and nurses agency staff:
In order to ensure a smooth introduction of these checks, we propose making a distinction between new and existing domiciliary care agency and nurses agency staff. We are consulting on the definitions of new and existing staff in order to ensure that they are clear both to agencies and their customers. All domiciliary care and nurses agency staff will be required to obtain enhanced disclosures.
Existing domiciliary care agency staff will be asked to submit applications for checks to the CRB between
Checks on existing nursing agency staff will commence in spring 2004 once those on existing domiciliary agency staff have been completed.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has today issued a consultation paper on the necessary amendments to the Domiciliary Care Agencies Regulations 2002, Nurses Agencies Regulations 2002 and the Care Homes Regulations 2001.
The lower volume of throughput, as a result of the slower introduction of checks on the key groups mentioned above and the deferment of basic disclosures, together with other factors have resulted in higher unit costs. The costs for 2002–03 have been met by the three key departments, namely the Home Office, Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills. The business plan develops a costing regime retaining free checks for volunteers and a new full-cost recovery plan with full effect from 2005.
The Government made it clear when the current £12 fee was announced (Official Report,