Organisations that process large numbers of job applications can use an e-Bulk electronic service from the Criminal Record Bureau to check batches of applicants online with the Police National Database.
The system relies on secure messaging to send job applicants' details through the Criminal Justice Exchange system using the Government Secure Intranet. Organisations can then access the results using a secure FTP site.
Adele Townsend, director of programmes and corporate services at the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), said organisations who make more than 3,000 checks a year can now use the CRB e-Bulk to send multiple applications and receive the results electronically.
She said high-volume customers, which submit 50% of all applications to the CRB, can now be handled electronically. The remaining 50% of checks will still require a manuel check although future plans involve extending online checks to individuals/ smaller organisations."The launch of our first electronic application system represents a significant milestone for the CRB and demonstrates our commitment to make all of our services accessible electronically," said Adele Townsend.
Annually the CRB completes more than 3.5 million checks against criminal records and lists of those barred from working with the vulnerable. Half of all applications come from 265 organisations, which will be offered the e-Bulk system.
The CRB said the e-Bulk service will reduce the average processing time by around five days and allow organisations to integrate the checks into their own recruitment processes.
Of the 34 customers who have signed up to the new service, Girlguiding UK is the first one to use it.
Denise King, CEO of Girlguiding UK, said: "Parents trust our organisation because we have a sound recruitment process which includesCRB checks. This new service will provide real benefits, not only to us as an organisation but also to our young members and volunteers. This new e-application channel will help us reduce bureaucracy, improve quality and speed up the process."