Criminal Records Review

Official response to Criminal Records Review led by the Government's Independent Advisor on Criminality Information Management.


Criminal Records Review

 

The Government is reviewing whether the criminal records regime strikes the right balance between respecting civil liberties and protecting the public. It is considering proposals to scale back the use of systems involving criminal records to common sense levels.

Your contribution to this online survey is appreciated, as only a limited number of representative organisations have been invited to participate. Your response needs to be received by 19th November in order for your perspectives to be considered. 

The results will be considered by the Government’s Independent Advisor on Criminality Information Management who is leading this important review. The review is also taking into account the recent public consultations conducted by the Department for Education and contributions to the ‘Your Freedom’ website.

 

How do you feel about the balance between public protection and individual rights in the current system?

Individual rights and civil liberties are being unfairly overridden (from options menu)

Are the criteria for eligibility for CRB Disclosures in your sector clear ?

No 

Please add any further comments about this topic. In particular, do you have any views on where the boundary should be set between who is eligible for a CRB disclosure and who is not?

This is another area where there is no consistent practice. Some of our own employees who are paid union officers have not been allowed into schools to meet a member without producing a CRB check. This is one of a number of examples of a disproportionate approach to child protection. 

Should volunteers be treated differently from paid employees in terms of eligibility for CRB checks?

No 

Please add any further comments about this topic

In a proportionate and consistent scheme volunteers and employees should be treated the same. 

Should police intelligence information form part of a CRB disclosure?

Yes 

Please add any further comments about this topic

We have many casework examples where members have:

  • Not been able to find out at the conclusion of a police investigation whether, and if so what, soft information has been entered by the police;
  • Attempted to challenge disclosures which they regard as inaccurate and prejudicial but have either been unsuccessful or achieved only a partial success;
  • Been prejudiced in employment by the disclosure of soft information;
  • [We referred here to an email from a member who had not been prejudiced in his employment but described how he found it stressful to have to continually explain the soft information.]

To what extent should old and minor offences be included in CRB disclosures?

There should be criteria covering age/seriousness (from options menu)

Please add any further comments about this topic

We were encouraged by the recommendation of the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee in 2009 that the ISA should asses proposed disclosures of soft information. 

Should someone be required to get a new CRB disclosure if they move between jobs or take up a new role?

In some circumstances (from options menu)

Please add any further comments about this topic

We agree with the DfE advice that a CRB check is not required unless there is a 3 months’ break in service.

Do you think that constantly updating information about individuals as new information is gathered is:

A very good idea (from options menu)

Please add any further comments about this topic

This function is within the Vetting and Barring Scheme as it currently stands. 

Please choose 5 statements in order of preference (1 highest, 5 lowest)

1. Better balance between civil liberties and public protection

2. Less information / police intelligence in a CRB disclosure

3. Individuals have the capacity to access, challenge and correct their own criminal records

4. Portability

5. Clear & enforced criteria for eligibility

Continuous updating

Better integration of international data

What should a "criminal record" consist of?

Convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings (from options menu)

How long should criminal records be kept for?

For variable periods, depending on seriousness (from options menu)

Where should criminal records be kept?

Don’t know (from options menu)

Access to criminal records should be allowed for what purposes?

Criminal justice and employment vetting purposes (from options menu)

What information held about them should individuals be able to access and challenge?

All personal data under Data Protection principles. 

Do you have any views on the ways in which overseas data is integrated into the criminal records regime?

We have some experience of confused and flawed arrangements for this. 

Would you be happy for officials to contact you to discuss your responses?

Yes (from options menu)  

David Brierley
Solicitor


Contact:

Solicitor David Brierley
Email: davidbrierley@voicetheunion.org.uk