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CRB drops fees ahead of expected vetting surge

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The Criminal Records Bureau has dropped its fees ahead of an expected massive increase in business come October.

The government's Vetting and Barring Scheme kicks in this October, bringing an end to the disparate collection of lists of adults who are banned from working with children or other vulnerable children.

The scheme seems to have two aims - make vetting more efficient, and stop the kind of embarrassment the government endured every time the previous regime's failings were exposed.

As a result, the fee for a standard CRB check has been dropped from £31 to £26.

This may assuage some of the unease about the cost to organisations, particularly voluntary ones, that will have to stump up for checks. Or not, given that the whole reason for the price drop is an expected surge in applications, as the vetting regime is extended to further "activities", meaning more potential organisations paying for checks.

Prices for the Enhanced CRB check - which controversially includes "soft intelligence" such as unsubstantiated and unproven allegations, and information which is not shown to the applicant - will remain at £36.

The CRB also unveiled its latest "business plan" today, and reviewed its last year's activity.

Over the last year, it said, it had "prevented a further 18,000 unsuitable people from gaining access to children and vulnerable adults as a direct result of a CRB check, bringing the total to around 98,000 in the past five years".

It also has its first electronic application channel, the scarily named e-Bulk, "which allows its largest volume customers to submit multiple applications online, bringing many benefits to the CRB and its customers, including faster results and improved quality and accuracy". ®

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