'Wishful thinking' led to criminal screening chaos
THE new organisation providing criminal checks on people working with children and the elderly was set up on the basis of wishful thinking, according to the spending watchdog. Officials pressed ahead with the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) in spite of serious worries about whether it was ready because they feared bad publicity if there was a further delay, a report by the National Audit Office says. Within weeks the Merseyside-based bureau was unable to cope. In a further move, Sir John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, has been unable to say that the accounts are a true reflection of the bureau’s finances. The audit office report, published today, discloses that the bureau is unable to get access to information held on people by the Customs and Excise and the British Transport Police. Nor can the agency get access to information on foreign applicants or check the criminal history of Britons who have lived abroad….