How long do they last?
Disclosures are a check against Government-held records at a moment in time and the records could be updated at any time, so Disclosures are technically out of date as soon as they are issued.
Consequently how long they last is really two questions :-
- Q1) If somebody already has a Disclosure for a role, how recent must it be for another organisation to accept it for a different role?
- Q2) If somebody is in continuous employment with the same employer, how often should they be re-checked?
The short answers to these questions are :-
- A1) Existing Disclosures should not be accepted
- A2) Rechecks should be carried out every 3 years under normal circumstances or every 2 years if the relationship between the requesting organisation (employer etc.) and the subject is more distant, i.e. such that any " incidents" occurring after a check may not come to light through the "grapevine".
However ... as with most things concerning Disclosures, these short answers are not set in stone, so read on if you want the full position.
Accepting Disclosures obtained for another organisation, known as portability, is not endorsed by the CRB or Disclosure Scotland, but nor is it banned.
Prior to April 2006 portability was endorsed by the CRB, but in February 2006 they announced a policy reversal. They did not ban it entirely, but simply said it carried risks and organisations should be aware of these when deciding whether or not to accept existing Disclosures.
The key risks around accepting existing Disclosures, assuming that they are "clear" in all sections checked*, at the right level for the new role the relevant POVA and/or POCAL list were checked, are centred around Enhanced Disclosures:-
- Was any confidential information released to the Registered Body that would not be shown on the copy presented by the applicant?
- Is the copy presented by the applicant genuine?
- Did the original RB carry out the identity checks diligently?
- How long before the issue date on the Disclosure were the PNC, POVA and POCAL checks actually run?
The first 2 issues can be covered by verifying the applicant copy with the original Registered Body who received the RB copy. However not all RB's retain this e.g. OFSTED, and (with a mind to the CRB's position) many that do will not verify. In any case the RB is required to destroy their copy after a maximum of 6 months.
* RB's cannot discuss Disclosure content with anybody other than the applicant or, in the case of Umbrella Bodies, their contracted client. Hence only "clear" existing Disclosures could be accepted.
The third point is really the CRB distancing themselves from the many (unfortunately) Registered Bodies who do not pay due care to checking the applicant's identity. The CRB are actively de-registering those RB's who process insufficient applications to build a competency, but even some of the larger ones delegate the ID checks to field operatives who undertake these infrequently and do not see them as a core part of their role. Relying on others to have checked ID diligently is a risk, but all employers have a legal responsibility to check the identity of their employees, if only to comply with the Right to Work legislation, so provided this is done diligently the identity issue should be covered.
Our recommendation is that existing Disclosures are not accepted.
Even if the employer is willing to take the risk, with the CRB taking the position they have, so few RB's will verify that we no longer offer a verification service.