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Saturday, 16 May 2009

What is CRB Check? (Criminal Records Bureau Check)

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), an executive agency of the Home Office provides access to criminal record and other relevant information to organisations in England and Wales. The results of the checks carried out by the CRB help organisations make more informed decisions when recruiting people to work with children and the vulnerable.

CRB checks are also available to certain specified professional, licensing and regulatory bodies whose employees or volunteers are not necessarily in direct contact with the vulnerable.

Through the Disclosure service, organisations can ensure greater protection for the vulnerable members of our society and afford greater protection to their customers, staff, volunteers and ultimately their organisation.

What information is available through a CRB check?
A CRB check can provide access to a range of different types of information, such as, information:

* held on the Police National Computer (PNC), including Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings in England and Wales, and most of the relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included. (The CRB reserves the right to add new data sources. For the most up to date list of data sources which are searched by the CRB click here):
* held by local police forces and other agencies, relating to relevant non-conviction information;
* from the Government's Protection of Children Act List (PoCA), where applicable;
* from the Government's Protection of Vulnerable Adults List (PoVA), where applicable; and
* held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99), where applicable.

Not all applications for those working with children or vulnerable adults will be eligible for a PoCA or PoVA Check. For the latest details on which posts or sectors are entitled to request such checks please go to for the PoCA List or for the PoVA List

The CRB does not check whether an applicant is permitted to work within the UK. The employer has liability for ensuring that the person they intend to employ does not have any restriction on their ability to take up employment within the UK. For further information on the rules surrounding working in the UK go to the Borders and Immigration Agency website at

Levels of CRB Check
To provide this service, the CRB offers two types of check. These are Standard and Enhanced.

These checks cannot be obtained by members of the public directly but are only available to organisations and only for those professions, offices, employments, work and occupations listed in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Standard CRB check
Standard CRB checks are primarily for posts that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Standard checks may also be issued for people entering certain professions, such as members of the legal and accountancy professions. Standard checks contain the following;

* Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings held in England and Wales on the Police National Computer, the most of the relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included;

and if the position involves working with children or vulnerable adults, in the sectors or areas which are able to access them, and the relevant boxes have been marked on the application form, in Section Y (Y3 or Y4), to indicate this:

* information from the Protection of Children Act List (PoCA);
* Information from the Protection of Vulnerable Adults List (POVA); and
* Information held by the DCSF under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 of those considered unsuitable for, or banned from working with children.

Enhanced CRB Check
Enhanced checks are for posts involving a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults. In general, the type of work will involve regularly caring for, supervising, training or being in sole charge of such people. Examples include a Teacher, Scout or Guide leader. Enhanced checks are also issued for certain statutory purposes such as gaming and lottery licences.

Enhanced checks contain the same information as Standard checks but with the addition of any locally held police force information considered relevant to the job role, by Chief Police Officer(s).

Why might I be asked to apply for a CRB checks?
You may have been asked to apply for a Standard or an Enhanced CRB check if:

* you will be working with children or vulnerable adults;
* you will be working in an establishment that is wholly or mainly for children;
* you will be working in healthcare; or
* you have applied to be a foster carer, adoptive parent or childminder.

A CRB check may also be required for a range of other types of job or licences. To find out more please contact the CRB information line or click here.

Can I refuse to apply for a CRB check?
Yes. However, there are some posts for which a CRB check is required by law. If you refuse to apply for a CRB check in this instance, the organisation may not be able to take your job or licence application any further.

If you are currently working and your employer asks you to apply for a CRB check, you may be able to refuse if your contract of employment does not refer to a criminal record check, unless a change in legislation has made such a check mandatory.

I already have a CRB Check, can I use it again?
If you are asked to apply for a CRB check and you already have one for a previous role you can ask if the organisation is willing to accept it. When making this decision the organisation will take into account the length of time that has elapsed since that CRB check was issued; the level of CRB check; the nature of the position for which the CRB check was issued; and the nature of the position for which you are now applying. Ultimately, it will be the organisation’s decision whether to accept it or not. This re-use is called ‘Portability’ - for more information see the guidance.

What if I have lived overseas?
The CRB does not generally have access to overseas criminal records. However, some organisations have a legal responsibility to check if a person is banned from working with children or vulnerable adults and can only do this through the CRB . We can also advise on how to obtain equivalent information from the overseas authorities, for further information click here. You may wish to discuss this with your prospective employer.

How do I pay for my CRB Check?
The CRB charges an application fee.

Payment for a CRB check can be made by personal cheque or postal order for those who do not have payment on account status. Some organisations may pay for the CRB check on your behalf. Please check with the person who has asked you to apply for the CRB checkif this is the case.

If you are a volunteer, the CRB will issue the CRB check free-of-charge. *Click here to see the definition of a volunteer.

How will I know which level of CRB Check is required?
The organisation that has asked you to apply for the CRB check knows what the specific role entails and is, therefore, best suited to decide the appropriate level of CRB check for the position. The CRB is unable to offer you any guidelines on this.

How do I apply for a CRB Check?
There are two ways of applying for a CRB check. You will either be asked to:

* telephone the Disclosure application line on 0870 90 90 844, in which case you will need to provide the Registered Body name and number (Please have this information to hand when calling), or
* complete a paper application form handed to you by the person who asked you to apply.

In both instances, you will have to provide evidence of your name, address and date of birth, along with the Registered Body name and number, and the level of CRB check. This will help the person who asked you to apply, confirm your identity. A guidance booklet on how to complete the form is available here (please note, this booklet will open in a new browser window).

Who will receive my CRB Check?
When the application is processed, the CRB sends out a copy of the CRB check, containing any information revealed during its searches, to both you and the person who countersigned your form.

How do I know that the information contained on my CRB Check will remain confidential?

Organisations using the Disclosure service must comply with the CRB Code of Practice, which is there to make sure that any information revealed is used fairly and kept securely. Also, the CRB is committed to compliance with the Data Protection Act. This means that any personal information that you submit to us will be protected.

Under the provisions of the Code of Practice, sensitive personal information must be handled and stored appropriately and must be kept only for as long as it is necessary. The Code of Practice is published on the CRB website, or you can request a copy from the person who asked you to apply for the CRB check.

What if I have a criminal record that may not be relevant to the position for which I am applying?
Safeguards and guidelines have been introduced to ensure that conviction information is not misused and that ex-offenders are not treated unfairly. Ex-offenders will retain the protection afforded by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. In addition, the CRB and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have developed guidance information for employers on this matter.

What if things go wrong?
The CRB has established a comprehensive complaints process and, as part of its commitment to provide a high standard of customer service, we will always:

* act fairly and impartially
* communicate effectively
* deal promptly with all enquiries
* endeavour to learn from our mistakes

For how long is a CRB Check valid?
Each Disclosure will show the date on which it was printed. CRB checks do not carry a pre-determined period of validity because a conviction or other matter could be recorded against the subject of the CRB check at any time after it is issued.

Extracted from Criminal Records Bureau
*Information is extracted from other web site for self reference only. We are not responsible for any material posted. You can file a complaint here.

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