The Home Office has put out a tender for a new system to help employers avoid recruiting people with inappropriate criminal backgrounds.
The tender, valued at between £250 million and £350 million over its maximum lifetime of eight years, is to provide a new system for the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguard Authority (ISA), which are merging. "CRB and ISA will be merged into one organisation to be known as the Disclosure and Barring Service at a date to be confirmed," the tender document says.
Disclosure services allow organisations to check job applicants against criminal records, whereas a barring service actively prevents unsuitable people from working with children or vulnerable adults. The winning supplier will be required to process barring decision and disclosure applications, as well as issuing certificates such as the CRB check and other general administrative duties.
The project is also intended to implement the Protection of Freedoms Bill and the recommendations from the criminal records, vetting and barring scheme policy reviews published in February 2011. The bill, currently making its way through the House of Commons, restricts the scope of the ‘vetting and barring’ scheme for protecting vulnerable groups and makes changes to the system of criminal records checks.
The prospective lifetime value of the project more than double the £100m maximum recommended by the Cabinet Office in its Government ICT Strategy, published in March this year.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson told Information Age that it was aware of the exceeded recommendation. "Cabinet Office is aware of this project/tender and can confirm that the project received approval to proceed to OJEU," an emailed statement said. "The approval was given as part of the CO/HMT Spending Controls.”