CRB keeps Indian call centre, despite clearing its backlog

1 Aug 02
The Criminal Records Bureau will continue outsourcing work to a call centre in India for the 'foreseeable future', despite clearing its 50,000 backlog in criminal record checks.

02 August 2002

The Home Office said this week that the CRB would carry on using the centre to 'help alleviate any potential problems'.

The bureau was forced to outsource its data processing in June as part of emergency measures to clear a backlog of applications for criminal record checks and improve poor service standards. The call centre was described as 'an interim measure', with the bureau, a £940m public-private partnership between the Home Office and Capita, expected to hit its service targets in July.

The Home Office maintained that the CRB was now reaching most of its targets, but added that it was still not performing 100%. 'The CRB appreciates that it is far from the top end of performance. But improvement initiatives are beginning to bite,' a spokesman told Public Finance.

The CRB has now sent out 143,000 criminal record checks.

It has received 1,971 complaints since it opened for business in March. Local authorities and teaching unions complained that applications were taking up to two months to process and were holding up the recruitment of vital staff. Education Secretary Estelle Morris was also forced to reinstate List 99, the old checking system, to speed up teacher recruitment.

The Home Office refused to comment on whether Capita would face financial penalties under the contract. Criminal justice minister Lord Falconer has already indicated that he is looking into 'remedies'.


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