Section 163: Criminal record certificates
425.This section replaces sections 113 and 115 of the 1997 Act which deal with criminal record certificates and enhanced criminal record certificates respectively. These new provisions, which insert new sections 113A – 113F into the 1997 Act, consolidate the existing provisions, which have been subject to a number of amendments under earlier legislation, and make some changes to existing arrangements.
426.New section 113A consolidates the provisions for criminal record certificates, and new section 113B for enhanced criminal record certificates. New section 113B also extends the range of police forces and other organisations from whom the CRB (and disclosure bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland) can seek non-conviction information for the purposes of enhanced criminal record certificates to include bodies such as the British Transport Police and HM Revenue and Customs (new section 113B (10) and (11)). This is in response to part of recommendation 31 of the report of the Bichard Inquiry (see paragraph 61 above).
427.New section 113C consolidates the provisions for criminal record certificates relating to searches done when the applicant wants to work with children. It also gives the CRB access to additional lists maintained in Scotland and Northern Ireland which are comparable to the lists maintained in England and Wales of people who are unsuitable to work with children, and an order-making power to allow the Secretary of State to add more such lists in the future (new section 113C(3)). This gives effect to the remainder of recommendation 31 of the Bichard Inquiry report. (Disclosure Scotland would similarly have access to lists maintained in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland.) The section also brings a child’s prospective special guardian and other people living in the same household within the scope of the categories of people in relation to whom criminal or enhanced criminal record certificates can include information in relation to matters specified in new section 113C(1).
428.New section 113D consolidates the provisions for criminal record certificates relating to searches done when the applicant wants to work with vulnerable adults. In a similar way to section 113C, it also gives the CRB access to additional lists maintained in Scotland and Northern Ireland comparable to the lists maintained in England and Wales of people who are unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults, and an order-making power to allow the Secretary of State to add more such lists in the future (subsection 113D(3)). Disclosure bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland will also be given access to all specified vulnerable adults’ lists.
429.New section 113E sets out the arrangements for the conduct of initial checks against lists of people unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults in exceptional circumstances, so that a person may be permitted to start work in advance of the CRB's certificate being issued. It also allows the CRB to make an additional charge for this additional service. The new arrangements will also apply to the disclosure bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. New section 113F contains supplementary provisions and is part of the consolidation of the previous provisions. It also contains references to relevant legislation from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
430.Subsection (4) of section 163 enables the Secretary of State to make transitional arrangements for checks on persons seeking to become children's special guardians or about whom a court is considering whether to make a special guardianship order if the provisions of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, which establish such guardians, are brought into force before the new sections 113A to 113F of the 1997 Act.