Criminal records checks cut back
A cut in the number of times teachers, social workers and care assistants have criminal record checks will save a council £44,000 a year.
Leicester City Council carries out Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on all staff who join to work with youngsters or vulnerable adults.
It then rechecks them all every three years to see if they have picked up any convictions, cautions or warnings that would mean they are no longer suitable for the position.
These rechecks are not required by law, however, and from April the authority will scrap the system, which it has been running since 2008.
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Instead, a random selection of 20 per cent of the staff will be rechecked annually.
The council said under the current regime 3,350 rechecks were carried out every year, at a cost of nearly £150,000.
It said it did not think the change would increase the risk to children or vulnerable adults.
A spokeswoman said: "Criminal record checks play a vital role in determining an individual's suitability to work with vulnerable groups and will continue to be part of the council's recruitment process.
"Despite there being no statutory obligation to carry out routine rechecking, this change will mean all city council staff in posts requiring criminal record checks could be subject to annual rechecks."
Since 2009, all new staff have had to agree to declare any convictions, warning or reprimands.
The council may be notified, by the police, of any relevant matter. There have been such 18 cases in the past two years.
The authority says it has whistleblowing procures to expose convictions.
The council said stopping all rechecks would save £167,000, but officials were concerned employees with convictions would not declare them as there was no chance of them being discovered.
However, Peter Flack, assistant secretary of the Leicester branch of the National Union of Teachers, said: "It's a complete waste of time to check 20 per cent of the staff.
"In the three years the council has been rechecking teachers it has found two things, neither of which was anything to do with child safety.
"If any serious matter is reported to the police an employer will be informed as it is."