The REC has previously updated you on the changes made to the Disclosure Barring Service on 17 June which mean that criminal record certificates are now only sent to the applicant. This will mean that in time, the need to use the old portability process will be phased out, as applicants register for criminal record certificates which are issued post 17 June 2013 using the new Update Service.
Applicants decide whether to register with the Update Service and it is possible that some applicants may choose not to use it.
REC members should use the most secure procedure available to carry out safeguarding checks. It has long been recognised that the old system of carrying out a criminal records check was flawed because in effect the certificate became out of date from the moment it was issued. There is no way for the countersignatory to know from that certificate whether the applicant has had any new cautions/convictions since the date of issue.
Following member feedback on their dissatisfaction with the portability system, the REC lobbied for a more effective means of carrying out criminal record checks.
The old portability process only served to provide confirmation as to whether any ‘additional information’ (also known as ‘brown envelope information’) was provided to the original countersignatory at the date of issue but provided no information about any new information that may have been added to the criminal record since that date.
The Disclosure Barring Service are encouraging employers to ‘review your employment and recruitment policies to see how Status checks can form part of the processes’. The REC agrees that it makes sense to look at incorporating the Update Service into the safeguarding process moving forward.
No changes have currently been made which render the existing portability process invalid. But given that the Update Service is now available, it is recommended that members continue to use the most secure means of carrying out safeguarding checks.
Moving forward, it will be advisable for members supplying temporary workers who have criminal record certificates that pre-date 17 June 2013 to encourage workers/applicants to apply for new certificates and register with the Update Service. There may, quite reasonably, be an expectation from clients that the most effective safeguarding processes will be used to vet workers before they are supplied. Clearly there will be cost implications for applicants and this is not something that can be adopted overnight but this should be the direction of travel from here on.