The news released today that the Criminal Records Bureau has today become self funding should in the course of things make me happy. OK, the service has been a bit of a disaster. What with all those crimes committed abroad and so on. So I should be happy that at least it is no longer a drain on the public purse,
Well firstly it has failed under its own, or dare I say it the Home Office's own criteria. According to the National Audit Office's report(p11) this milestone should have been achieved 12 months ago. But there is something more serious than that.
The CRB is one of this odd new breed of self-financing Quangos. It thus has a vested interest in ensuring that more and more people come under its purview and scope in order that it can justify its existence.
Then the service it provides, that is to let people know if the nanny thy have just employed has links to the white slave trade or whatever is one that should be available to an extent from the authorities. But the authorities have generated such a level of panic in the population, specifically in reference to paedophilia that as a service the system breaks down. All are fearful, or if not are nigh on culpable.
So for the organisation to break even it charges £31 a time. Laws are then passed to ensure that one cannot employ people, even cricket umpires and the like without a CRB check. Thousands of small scale voluntary clubs and organisations, schools and the like then have to go through the rigmarole of having checks done on every part time employee or volunteer. Then there is the massive increase of the state invasion of privacy so such checks can be done. After all 'it's for the kiddies'.
According to the CRB press release,
"In 2006, the CRB issued its 11 millionth disclosure and is currently issuing over 250,000 disclosures every month. Demand is continually increasing: In 2002/3 1.5 million disclosures were issued whilst in 2005/6 there were 2.9 million."
At the cheapest rate that means just under £90 million quid. So it is self financing. Not in my book. Much of that money comes from the budgets of schools etc that is drawn directly from the taxpayer, and the rest comes from small business and voluntary organisations, many of which have had to close down due to the cost and the bureaucracy involved.
So no, I am not at all pleased that this Government make work scheme is self financing, because to all intents and purposes it's a lie.
That and that fact that it is yet another Capita system just makes it worse. Dear Mr Aldridge what are you doing now?