The firm behind the Liverpool-based Criminal Records Bureau is to pay a £1.8m penalty for failing to process disclosures quick enough.
Capita, the support services specialist, was awarded a £400m contract to run the CRB, which was set up last year to vet those applying for jobs working with children or vulnerable adults.
But last September a back-log of checks meant chaos as teachers were not vetted in time and could not be put in charge of classes at the beginning of the school year.
Colin Antrobus, partner at Liverpool based accountant Gasking Lace, said his son’s application for a teacher training course had been delayed after the CRB was set up.
‘The whole thing was rushed in too quickly. He’d already passed a check but he only found out at the last minute that he would still have to go through the CRB to be checked again.’
The checks, which include accessing criminal records, are meant to protect children from sex offenders.
The Home Office says that last August the CRB was making an average of just 24,500 disclosures a month compared with 40,000 at present.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The performance of the CRB team was inadequate and that’s why an independent review team was set up in September, but there has been significant improvement in recent months.’
A report was published in February, proposing a ‘radical’ overhaul with 10 recommendations for change. These included getting education and health authorities to do more of the initial work on checks.