REC responds to report on unlawful CRB checks
Employers have been unlawfully using the Criminal Records Bureau to check the backgrounds of job applicants, a press report has stated today.
According to BBC Radio 4’s “Face the Facts” programme, bricklayers and drivers are among the staff against whom illegal criminal checks are being made.
The allegation was made by offenders charity, Nacro which said that these unnecessary checks were resulting in employers learning about candidates’ spent convictions, that normally would not be disclosed.
CRB checks are an issue for REC members in a number of key sectors and concerns over the delays in receiving these checks have been regularly taken forward with the Bureau and Home Office. Some progress has been made on this but the issue of employers asking for CRB checks in areas where these are not warranted has also been a major concern for agencies.
Commenting on this and on the findings of the programme, Tom Hadley, the REC’s Director of External Relations, said:”There have been many instances over the last few years where REC members have been caught in the middle with clients demanding CRB checks for posts where these are not justified.
“The REC has played a proactive role in liaising with these employers and it is important to raise the overall awareness of when such checks are legitimate. The REC fully supports measures to encourage safe recruitment but this must not fly in the face of what the CRB was originally set up to do. A key message to employers is that there are other means of effectively vetting candidates, for example through consistent reference checking.
“An important way of enhancing safe recruitment is for employers to use professional recruiter who abide to Codes of Practice and ethics such as those all REC members sign up to.”
The REC is represented on a number of CRB user groups which enables the feedback and views of members to be taken forward on a regular basis. The REC has also been in regular contact with Nacro through the work of the Diversity Forum and initiatives such as the Diversity Pledge.