Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Have you ever had a Criminal Records Bureau check? I have. In fact, having worked in schools for 22 years, I have had lots of them. Working in different types of schools meant I had to have extra ones (private schools sometimes do things differently to state schools). When Cleveland County split up into four Boroughs, the various councils wanted new CRB checks again. As I have worked in all four Boroughs, I have been CRB checked more than most people who have worked in schools.

One check should be enough, of course. Even different school and Borough bodies should be able to communicate in a basic enough way to trade proof. However, it was never going to be as simple as that, was it?

Now the latest rule is that the CRB checks should be run every three years. What exactly is the inference there? That a person is likely to turn into a monster in that time? Maybe it's common to have one's identity stolen by an evil android or clone? Or is it just that an office - or even a computer - is incapable of keeping records for more than 36 months?

Anyway, there is no way around the procedure so it's a case having to prove one's identity and lack of criminal record yet again.

For those who don't know, a CRB check forces an individual to prove they are who they say are by presenting various official documents.

Here are the basic rules:

3 documents must be seen

One document from Group 1
plus any two from Groups 1 or 2

Group 1


UK Birth Certificate

UK issued Driving Licence

EU Photo Identity Card

HM Forces ID Card

UK Firearms Licence

I have only ever had one of those items and it's not to hand, so I couldn't use any of them when I had my most recent check. The last one seems utterly bizarre.

So, it's on to the next section:

5 documents from Group 2

Group 2

Hmmm...a longer list. Let's take a look...

Marriage Certificate

Vehicle Registration Document

Certificate of British Nationality

....not getting any easier, is it?

So, armed with an incredible amount of bank statements, payslips, letters from the tax office etc, I recently presented my evidence. Still not enough. The final piece of the jigsaw to prove I was legally allowed to work in schools was, ironically, my ancient 'O' Level certificates, which had somehow survived the ravages of time by sheltering in an equally old envelope. It's the first time they've ever come in useful.

So, having had every corner of my privacy explored, I am now able to work in schools for another three years until the next check is due. I'm not even sure if I can be bothered ever doing another one. There must be some other work going for someone with 'O' Levels.


Anonymous said...

Eh? How can your O-level certificate prove your identity more than your tax record? Would you be fraudulently PAYING taxes under someone else's name?? And if you had a firearms license that would be ok???

And surely if you had committed any major crimes in the past 3 years, and been convicted of them (I assume if you were not caught it would not show up on the record check anyway) then the resulting stint in jail should probably be a give away to the school system...

This is just "make-work" stuff, it is ridiculous!

If it makes you feel any better, due to working in North America on work visas I have been fingerprinted more times than The Badd Lads...

Sean Marsh said...

Fingerprints?! Luxury!

Nothing I produced as evidence couldn't have been easily forged or stolen.

My most recent CRB check (prior to this one) was not even eligible, despite it being done on the same person, by the same people, at the same Borough Council.

Anyone serious about stopping child abuse should start by inverstigating problems associated with extended families, but nobody is prepared to handle that particular hot potato.

Still, if picking on easy targets lets them tick the right boxes at the same as invading privacy, I presume the people at the top are kept happy.