HC Deb 16 December 2003 vol 415 cc862-4W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what additional payments have been made to Capita in respect of amendments and modifications to the Criminal Records Bureau computer system in each financial year since the project began; [142059]

(2) what the unit cost of a Criminal Records Bureau (a) standard and (b) enhanced disclosure is for each application route. [142060]

Ms Blears

Additional payments in respect of amendments to computer systems in each financial year are as follows:

2001–02 10,590,581
2002–03 541,789
20031 594,200
1To date.

Based on the projections in the Criminal Records Bureaus (CRB) Corporate and Business Plans 2003–04 the individual unit costs are estimated as follows:

Standard paper 25
Standard telephone 20
Enhanced paper 31
Enhanced telephone 26

Standard and Enhanced Disclosures are issued free of charge to volunteers.

There have been no subsequent developments, which would suggest these costs are now materially different.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for what reasons the Criminal Records Bureau has further increased its fees; [142261]

(2) what discussions he has had with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations on the implications of fee increases by the Criminal Records Bureau on voluntary, community and charitable organisations. [142262]

Ms Blears

We announced on 1 December that the fee charged by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for a Standard Disclosure will rise from £24 to £28 and that for an Enhanced Disclosure from £29 to £33. These increases will take effect from 1 April 2004.

We have always made it clear that the CRB would be self-financed through the fees charged for providing the Disclosure service, and that the fee levels would be regularly reviewed. When the last fee increase was announced in June 2003, we re-affirmed the requirement that the CRB should be self-financing in the medium term—that is, from 2005–06 onwards. The CRB continues to make efficiency savings. However, as the CRB moves towards full cost recovery, it is necessary to reduce the substantial subsidy that the CRB currently receives from the general taxpayer and to make a compensating increase in the Disclosure fee.

Disclosures continue to be issued free to volunteers, saving the voluntary sector some £12 million in 2004–05. We have had no discussions with the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) specifically on the latest fee increase. But we agreed earlier to meet representatives of the NCVO to discuss its concerns about the previous fee increase, amongst other issues. In addition, the NCVO is represented on the CRB Voluntary and Community Sector Working Group which provides a forum to raise any CRB-related issues affecting the sector.

Tim Loughton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the costs of Criminal Records Bureau checks for(a) care homes and (b) voluntary organisations. [143062]

Ms Blears

Criminal Records Bureau checks are free for volunteers, saving the voluntary sector some £10 million in 2003–04. In other cases, responsibility for paying the fee rests primarily with individual applicants, although it is open to the employer to reimburse the cost. Since 1 July 2003, the fees for an Enhanced and Standard Disclosure have been £29 and £24 respectively; I announced on 1 December 2003,Official Report, column 51–52WS the fees to apply from 1 April 2004. The total revenue from fees in 2003–04 is estimated to be £47 million. No detailed breakdown is available of the proportion of Disclosure applications, which come from each sector.