We have received quite a lot of advice, from a number of sources, about how and how long we can retain information received from the CRB. But all this advice relates solely - and explicitly - to recruitment decisions.
However, we are not very interested in recruitment decisions. We are willing, in principle, to accept staff and volunteers whatever their criminal history.
While we do take the individual's criminal record into account when deciding to recruit them, the key issue is not recruitment but deployment. Since they are making themselves available to help us and our clients, what is the best - and most appropriate - way for them to help? How much training do they need, and how much supervision?
We work in a very fluid environment. Opportunities to help people arise at short notice. Decisions about deployment frequently need to be made quickly if those opportunities are to be taken. In order to deploy people safely and effectively, the person making that decision needs to know of any relevant background. The decision often needs to be made within an hour or two, while CRB checks usually take several weeks from beginning to end.
It would be impossible to ask our volunteers to fill in a new CRB form every time they start to do something new for us: we don't have the resources to manage that, they don't have the patience, and it cannot be done quickly enough.
At present, we are required to destroy all the relevant details returned from the CRB within six months of the check being undertaken. We have requested permission to retain the information for longer, and the request has been turned down. The CRB has not given us any reason for this, only referring us back to the standard advice which talks about recruitment procedures.