Members who have been sitting on their Criminal Records Bureau forms might be advised to fill them in sharpish. At least one client is considering making CRB disclosure mandatory for those people work for them. The forms enable the CRB to carry out background checks on those who work with kids and other vulnerable individuals, and AQR has been carrying out a pilot scheme over the past year.

The COI contacted Rose Molloy recently about the latest developments in this area. It explained that it is looking into making disclosure a prerequisite - and possibly statutory in six months' time - for everyone working for it. The COI might also stipulate that the disclosure should be less than three years old. If so, certain members are prepared. The pilot scheme has seen four applications processed so far: two members wanted to be covered in a pitch situation, one went for it off their own bat and another was asked by AQR to apply.

The process has been fairly speedy overall, three of them being finalised within two weeks of AQR sending the documentation to the CRB. The fourth took a little longer because there was a discrepancy over a date. It is a fairly straightforward process. If an individual seeks CRB clearance, or an employer wants to have their staff checked out, they need to contact AQR to get the relevant information. The form is then sent back to the AQR Secretariat and either Rose or Angela (Webb) checks it, countersigns it, and sends it off.

As Simon Roberts, one of the four triallists, describes the process: "The bark is worse than the bite. It's just a bureaucratic hoop to jump through, not as bad as applying for a mortgage!"

What might put off employers wishing to gain disclosure for their staff, however, is that the onus is on them to vet each completed form, check the relevant documentation and then dispatch it.

Payment has not been an issue to date, with the CRB showing a fair degree of flexibility in this area. The service is currently limited to members, and seen as a service.