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Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Who is caring for our elderly in Bolton ?

June 2010

Who is caring for our elderly?

Our town’s so called independent newspaper the Bolton News has given some attention to the story about two foreigners previously convicted of fraud who have been employed as care workers. This has been allowed to happen by means of a government funded scheme being run by Bolton Council called ‘New Chance’.

Some people have voiced concern that employing ex-criminal to care for vulnerable people is inappropriate, and that Criminal Records Bureau [CRB] checks are supposed to stop this happening. But the reality is that CRB checks can not identify the backgrounds of a great many people who are providing care for our elderly.

The reason for the huge loophole in CRB checks is down to the Home Office. When, for instance an asylum refugee wants to apply for a job in a care home it is in most cases impossible for the CRB to do a check on that individual: let’s face it if a foreigner is telling us they have been persecuted by a regime or political system how can we grant them asylum and then ask their persecutor if our new found refugee has a criminal record. In cases like this the Home Office supplies a letter, removing the requirement for CRB checks to be carried out.

As someone who has had quite a lot of first hand contact with care homes I know that there are many refugees working in these homes and for agencies. Now the question is; how can the Home Office know that these people are not ex-criminals, how can the Home Office know that these people will not harm or have not already harmed elderly people.

For some time I have been in pursuit of answers to these questions, but as so often is the case it seems someone in the Home Office and the Bolton News believes that the BNP are best ignored.

Anthony Backhouse