HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 cc1038-9W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the reasons are for the exclusion of other EU citizens from criminal record checks when applying to work as mini-cab drivers; [167981]

(2) for what reason British and EU mini-cab drivers are not treated equally with regard to requirements for criminal record checks when applying to work as mini-cab drivers. [167982]

Ms Blears

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) will accept a Disclosure application from any individual who is resident, or is seeking a post, in England and Wales, meets the eligibility criteria and makes an application in the prescribed form which includes providing the documentation required to authenticate the applicant. But Part 5 of the Police Act 1997, under which the CRB operates, does not empower the CRB to search data sources outside the United Kingdom for conviction and other information shown on its Disclosures. The value of a CRB Disclosure may therefore be limited if the applicant has been resident in the UK for no more than a short time.

Some other countries, including most in the EU, have arrangements in place which allow their citizens to obtain certificates of good conduct or extracts from the criminal record to show to prospective employers. The CRB has developed an Overseas Information Service for the benefit of employers. This supplies advice and information about arrangements and contact points in a number of other countries in order that the employer can make inquiries or ask the employee to do so. At present, this covers 16 countries, including nine in Europe, and work is in hand to extend the service to a further 15 countries, including 14 in Europe. The CRB advises that Disclosures should complement and not replace other checks and inquiries under good recruitment practice. It is for employers (or regulatory bodies) to determine the arrangements that are to apply.