HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 c424W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what representations he has received on assistance to small voluntary organisations with obtaining Criminal Records Bureau checks on volunteers; and if he will make a statement; [174667]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on small voluntary organisations of delays in obtaining Criminal Records Bureau checks on volunteers; and if he will make a statement. [174669]

Ms Blears

The Department has received a range of representations from the voluntary sector. We encourage dialogue with voluntary organisations in order to address issues relevant to the sector—both through the Voluntary and Community Service Working Group, which regularly brings together representatives of a variety of interests, and other standing consultative bodies; and on other, ad hoc, occasions. Currently, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is reviewing the network of umbrella registered bodies through which smaller organisations may submit applications, in order to ensure that coverage is sufficient to meet the need. We are anxious also to continue to pursue discussions with the sector about other, cost-effective, means by which voluntary organisations might access the CRB.

Specific information is not available about the length of time the CRB takes to process applications from voluntary organisations. It is the normal practice of the CRB to process applications on a chronological basis, according to date of receipt, irrespective of the sector. Information is routinely collected about the CRB's overall performance against its service standards. Since June 2003, the CRB has been issuing on average 93 per cent. of all Standard and Enhanced Disclosures within two and four weeks respectively, against published service standards of 90 per cent. The CRB's aim is constantly to strive to make further improvements to the service that it provides.