§ Mr. Öpik
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to provide greater assistance to voluntary organisations and charities when they wish to screen the police records of their personnel; and if he will make a statement; 396W
(2) what targets his Department has set for the percentage of voluntary workers working in contact with vulnerable groups, who will have had their records screened by the police; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Michael
We have decided to implement Part V of the Police Act 1997 which provides for the establishment of a Criminal Records Agency. Once established, the Agency will be responsible for the issue of the three forms of certificates described in the Act. Priority will be given to the issue of Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates which will be available for those applying for positions which involve regular caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of persons under eighteen. The Agency will also issue Criminal Record Certificates, for posts or purposes which are exceptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, including duties involving regular contact with persons under eighteen; and Criminal Conviction Certificates, for general employment purposes. Consideration is being given to the arrangements for charging and the phasing in of certificates.
At present, only a limited number of voluntary organisations have access to criminal record checks. The establishment of the Criminal Records Agency will enable all voluntary organisations to consider which of their posts and personnel require police record checks and the type of certificate to be sought. It will be for organisations to decide this on the individual circumstances involved, assisted by a Code of Practice to be developed in consultation with interested parties. Any application to the Agency for disclosure of information will then require the consent of the person on whom the check is sought.