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Legal challenge for criminal records disclosure

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The Royal College of Nursing is going to the High Court over rules that mean nurses can be denied a job simply for having attended a police station.

The college has filed for a judicial review against the Home Office over the system where employers taking on staff in positions involving contact with children or vulnerable adults can ask the local police for an “enhanced criminal records certificate”.

This includes the disclosure of any information the police believe to be relevant to the job applied for, including allegations against the applicant that have not been proven in court.

The RCN move follows recommendations for a change to the system made earlier this month by the government’s independent adviser for criminality information management Sunita Mason. She concluded the test for what should be disclosed in the checks be changed from what “might be relevant” to what police “reasonably believe to be relevant”.

Plans for “common sense” reforms to checks for those working with children and vulnerable adults were also announced this month by the government. But these will only come into place after legislation is passed by parliament – potentially early next year.

In the meantime the RCN wants the High Court to rule that Ms Mason’s recommendations be followed as an interim measure so nurses cannot be discriminated against.

The Royal College of Nursing won a judicial review in November against the barring scheme run by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The High Court ruled that the automatic baring of nurses was “unlawful”.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Will be interesting to know if more common sense would be applied if compensation is awarded through auto-barring and non-proven allegations while being investigated.

    Compensation to claim for should include all loss of earnings, loss of a job, effects of financial hardship, effects upon a persons character, effects upon their family, legal costs, costs to publically rectify the situation etc

    It must be extremely stressful and worrying to go through that.

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