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DELIVERING 21ST CENTURY PROTECTION FOR THE VULNERABLE

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The Criminal Records Bureau has today outlined its five-year strategy for providing a first class service to protec...
The Criminal Records Bureau has today outlined its five-year strategy for providing a first class service to protect children and vulnerable adults.

CRB checks prevented 25,000 unsuitable people from gaining access to children and vulnerable adults in 2005. The Five-Year Strategy and Business Plan 2006/07 outlines the CRB's key objectives for building on this and meeting the challenges of recruitment vetting in the 21st Century.

Also published today is the agency's fourth annual customer research, revealing high levels of customer satisfaction. This year's results show 82 per cent satisfaction with the service being delivered by the CRB, an increase of 32 percentage points over the last three years.

The agency will work to increase this still further.

Key points in the strategy include:

* development of online and electronic application procedures;

* implementation of Bichard recommendations;

* access to new police databases to allow a more efficient disclosure system;

* preparations for the introduction of Identity Cards, which will help reduce processing times for criminal records checks; and

* improving methods of exchanging criminal record information with foreign countries.

Home Office minister Joan Ryan said:

'The CRB plays a crucial role in protecting children and vulnerable adults, and the measures set out in this five year strategy service will enable the organisation to improve even further the service it provides to employers and the public. I welcome the year-on-year improvements in customer satisfaction with the service, and I am confident that the plans outlined today will allow the organisation to build on this.

'The CRB will continue to work closely with its police force partners and other government departments to ensure that the changes set out today will improve the organisation's ability to carry out its vitally important work.'

CRB chief executive Vince Gaskell said:

'Since the CRB began operations in 2002 we have helped thousands of organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors make more informed recruitment and licensing decisions by identifying those who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving children and vulnerable adults.

'Our five year strategy will deliver an evolutionary change agenda, transforming the scope, scale, coverage and application of our service. As a result of this strategy our customers will see real benefits and real improvements over the coming months and years. We aim to achieve this at a cost that represents value for money to our customers and will enable the CRB to operate on a self-funding basis.'

The CRB is already making progress incorporating the recommendations of the 2004 Bichard inquiry by:

* streamlining its registered body network;

* implementing an interim cross-police border intelligence system

(I-PLX) ahead of the delivery of IMPACT (the successor to the police national computer);

* developing a Quality Assurance Framework to ensure consistency in the decision making process across the 43 police Disclosure units.

Plans are also well underway to prepare for the proposed Vetting and Barring Scheme. The CRB will also work with the Association of Chief Police Officers to implement a solution to exchange criminal information between EU member states as well as establishing vetting and data exchange protocols with non-EU countries.

NOTES

The CRB provides access to criminal record information through its Disclosure service. It enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving children or vulnerable adults. The CRB was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and commenced operation in 2002.

The CRB Five-Year Strategy and Business Plan and fourth annual customer satisfaction report are available at www.crb.gov.uk

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