Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has been told by home secretary Jack Straw to review the quality of data on the Phoenix System. The move was revealed in the Government's reply to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report on the Criminal Records Bureau.
The committee examined the problem of errors in the criminal records bureau that can prejudice the employment of people working with children, for example, when their history is checked for previous offences.
The Government said it is determined to make the service as reliable as possible and accepted that there is a major problem.
"The Government fully agrees with the committee that action needs to be pursued to improve the quality of data on Phoenix,'' said the Government reply.
Particular emphasis is being put on speeding up the input of data. The HMIC will review this issue as a matter of urgency. However, it will also look at other methods of improving speed and efficiency, reducing backlogs and weeding out unnecessary records.
A report will be compiled in the autumn.