‘Unchecked workmen could go into schools and homes’
�A Havering councillor says a safety loophole means workmen who have not had criminal records checks could be sent into schools and homes by the company Havering Council employs to carry out its building repairs.
Morrison’s Facility Service has been under council contract since 2004. It makes sure all its in-house staff and primary subcontractors undergo criminal record bureau (CRB) checks.
This scrutinises workers against police records and other sources to make sure they are suitable to work with children and vulnerable adults.
However, it is claimed the company subcontracts other jobs to unchecked handymen working in council houses, schools, old people’s homes and community centres because no vetting obligation is imposed by the borough or the government.
Labour Cllr Pat Murray, who raised the question, said: “I have grave concerns. There are people who are working in very sensitive areas, with children and vulnerable adults, but who are not checked.”
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Referring to Soham killer Ian Huntley, he said: “This is a major loophole. Let’s not forget why CRB checks were brought in – a caretaker at a school murdered two little girls.”
A former Morrison’s worker, who asked not to be named, alleged: “There are about 4,000 jobs done every year by subcontractors. None I’ve spoken to are CRB checked.
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“They are being sent all over the place, into schools, homes, people who have dementia. I wouldn’t let them near my home without a check, that’s for sure.”
The man, who has worked for the company for more than 20 years, says he and 18 others were made redundant last week because management want to use subcontractors at cheaper rates.
This year the government started scaling back CRB requirements. Now workers can only be checked if they visit the same building four or more times in a month.
A Morrison’s spokesman said: “Morrison are under no legal or contractual obligation to carry out CRB checks.
“However, when a contract does not require them to undertake CRB checks, if the contract involves potential contact with vulnerable adults or children, Morrison routinely carry out CRB checks on its own employees and primary subcontractors.”
Workmen are instructed to leave buildings if a “responsible adult” is not present, she said.