PAC criticises government modernisation of criminal checks body

1 May 19

Criminal checks could take longer and some records lost under a botched modernisation programme, which has already been criticised for being four years behind schedule and £230 million over budget.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee, released today, revealed that ongoing delays in the revamp of the PAC slates Home Office modernisation of the Disclosure and Barring Service have resulted in officials relying on a 17-year-old system, after a modernisation contract with technology firm TCS was terminated.

The PAC raised concerns about the four-year delay and spiralling costs in a report last year – and a subsequent report has now raised concerns that the implementation of a system that allows employers to search a database for new entries relating to individuals may never come to full fruition.

Of the 7.6 million certificates issued, only 1.8 million have been delivered from the modernised system at the DBS. “This means that two thirds of DBS activities will now not be modernised,” the report said, as it called on the Home Office to set out what it has done to “oversee, monitor and challenge the ongoing work at DBS to improve services and transition to the new contractor”.

“The DBS programme continues to be a cause for concern,” the report added. “Already over budget when we last reported in May 2018, it continues to run up costs. The programme has not delivered the intended benefits and we have seen little evidence that the Home Office has a strategy for DBS beyond hoping that a new supplier will bring about the necessary improvements.

“The Home Office is ultimately responsible for the DBS but it does not seem to have a clear vision for how to secure improvements to a system that is cumbersome for users and integral to providing the public with reassurance.”

The DBS took over from the Criminal Records Bureau in 2012. 

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