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Criminal Checks Modified in Britain

by Rathi Manohar on February 16, 2011 at 7:15 AM
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 Criminal Checks Modified in Britain

Britain has modified the provocative Independent Safeguarding Authority to be more balanced in its vetting and barring operations.

Merging the organization with the Criminal Records Bureau [CRB], the government has responded to the outright criticism from various groups of professionals who had to go through a check almost every time they took on an assignment. Although the process was to vet people who worked or volunteered to work with children and other vulnerable groups, almost everyone had to go through this monitoring. Distressingly, at times there were errors in the reports and because of the flawed information, some lost their jobs or could not go further in the employment process. Within a single year the CRB had brought out 631 records containing errors that could not be rectified.


People who were affected were nurses, teachers, flower arrangers, church bell-ringers and St John Ambulance volunteers. Even the Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey revealed that he had to undergo five criminal record checks before he could deliver a sermon.

Audrey Williams, partner at international law firm Eversheds remarked, "It is currently a source of frustration for many that an active individual needs a separate CRB check for each and every relevant working and volunteering activity."

With the more sensible changes, individuals can challenge the report on their jobs and activities. Registration for the process, a complicated and time-consuming affair, is not required anymore. Checks that are unnecessary and intrusive can be reported to the data protection watchdog. If employers have deliberately asked for a check, they would have to pay fines of thousands of pounds. People whose activities do need to be under scrutiny will have their records constantly updated to prevent a new process being initiated every time they change jobs. And the investigation will be regulated by the Protection of Freedoms Bill.

The only people who are not happy with the changes are child protection campaigners have who feel that the relaxation in the checking process could lead to questionable individuals abusing their positions of trust more easily.

Source: Medindia
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