The Home Office is gearing up to spend as much as £350m on outsourcing the work of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
An advertisement in theOfficial Journal of the European Union reveals that the Home Office is seeking an outsourcer to run the receipt and processing of referrals for a barring decision, applications for disclosure, workflow management, customer and registration services, the issuing of certificates, payment services and running a call centre.
All of the services will have to be accessible through the Home Office desktops and infrastructure platform.
The tender notice for the contract says it will last for eight years and will be worth between £250m and £350m, although there is as yet no date for the introduction of the new service.
The CRB helps employers in England and Wales make safer recruitment decisions. A number of jobs, especially those involving children or vulnerable adults, can be the subject of a check against criminal records and against lists of those barred from working with vulnerable people.
Following the transfer of the CRB's online content to Business Link, Directgov and the Home Office, the CRB has been working in conjunction with the Home Office to develop a new and improved umbrella body search facility.
Under the Coalition's Freedom Bill, the Criminal Records Bureau is to be radically scaled back and merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority.