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CRB check reform is backed by ex-teacher
A TEACHER who lost his job over unproven sexual abuse allegations has welcomed calls to reform CRB checks.
John Pinnington, of College Farm, Benson, was fired after his employers were told of three unproven accusations during a Criminal Records Bureau report.
Now the Court of Appeal has ruled that CRB checks in their current form are not compatible with the right to a private or family life under the Human Rights Act.
This is because they include a blanket requirement for some job seekers to supply details of all convictions – even minor offences that are decades old.
The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, said the CRB system must be reformed in a judgement this week.
The appeal court made the ruling in the case of a 21-year-old man who received warnings from the police when he was 11 in connection with two stolen bicycles.
Mr Pinnington, 63, was deputy principal of Thomley Hall, a college for young autistic adults in Buckinghamshire, when his employers applied for a CRB check in 2005.
The check revealed, in a section for “additional information”, three allegations of sexual abuse made against him by an autistic child in 2001. Police had investigated the allegation at the time and dismissed it. Mr Pinnington, who hasn’t worked since, fought for years to have them removed from his record and, following a judicial enquiry and an appeal to the Ministry of Justice, his CRB check is now clear.
While he was not sure if the appeal court’s decision would have helped his case, he hoped it would help others in a similar situation.He said: “It is legislation that is not fit for purpose that was rushed through by the Labour government. Its whole background and what it was supposed to do was based on very shoddy foundations.
The father-of-two, who has an autistic stepson, added: “What I took them to say in this case is they won’t be including very minor offences.
“But in my case I’ve never been charged, so if it is wrong for them to take minor convictions into account, what are they going to do about allegations? “Common sense would tell you that surely allegations, that were investigated by police but were never pursued, must fall below minor offences. I’d like to hope people in my situation have got some redress.”
In a statement the Home Office said it would appeal the court’s judgement to prevent “the protection of children and vulnerable groups” being compromised.
A spokesman for the Disclosure and Barring Service, which has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau, said the additional information on their checks was provided at the discretion of the police.