Fixing CRB/DBS

DBS checks are rubbish and don't keep people safe. Let's design a better way.

Me Submitted by Carrie Bishop
FutureGov Team Hack
What could FutureGov fix in a week?

DBS checks take time to process, are bureaucratic, and put people off doing things like Casserole. More to the point, they don't keep people safe as they only identify people who have been caught before, meaning the cleverer criminals have clean records (Jimmy Savile wouldn't have been caught for over 20 years through a DBS check).

I'd love us to explore alternatives - can we do something around people's networks/reputation? Can we have a system of users vouching for each other? Can we introduce checks/balances in some way? Can we use data on people to profile the risk of them being offenders (or is that creepy?)

The aim has to be to come up with a more reliable way of keeping people safe than DBS checks.

  • Harriet McDougall
    11 Jul at 10:35

    Interesting topic. I think there still needs to be something that captures serious and relevant unspent convictions, as convicted offenders are good at hiding their pasts and this information is not easy to find out, but you are right that this doesn't capture the majority of people. I guess the issues to explore are the implications of innocent until proven guilty, preventing people from doing things based on hearsay and, like you say, other data. One of the other important things to consider that this group of people are among the most manipulative people who are very good at getting around systems put in place to stop them offending, including by grooming and appearing to be someone that they are not. It would be really interesting to work through all of these challenges and try to find a new solution to this.

  • Ben Matthews
    13 Jul at 12:29

    How did Anna Pearson get on with Simple CRB?

    Might be worth having a chat with her to see what learnings she had and what the barriers were.

  • Carrie Bishop
    17 Jul at 10:12

    Thanks Ben and Harriet!

    Totally agree Harriet that this stuff is a minefield - probably why we've been stuck with the same crappy system for years.

    Ben, I think Anna's project was focused on making the current system easier for small groups/orgs to manage. I'm talking about doing something completely different as a way of assessing risk so not sure the 'learnings' (AKA 'LESSONS'!) will be all that useful here...?