The total cost of the vetting scheme is expected to soar close to £200 million – and will lead to the creation of around 1,450 jobs in a key Labour marginal constituency.
Public bodies such as the NHS and the Prison Service will be forced to spend millions of pounds registering their employees on the scheme at a time when their budgets have already been squeezed.
Almost all of the NHS’s 1.3 million employees will have to join at a cost of around £83m. The Local Government Association has already warned about the increased cost to councils and their staff.
Ministers will have to sanction a huge spending increase as the Criminal Records Bureau employs 582 staff who dealt with 3.9 million cases last year, or 6,700 cases per employee.
By contrast, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) has 250 staff whose case load will soar to 45,200 cases per employee as they reach the target of monitoring one in four adults. If, as expected, the ISA processed the work at the same rate as the Criminal Records Bureau it will require 1,686 employees, up 1,430. The staff bill will rise to £43 million.
It will provide a timely jobs boost for Darlington, where the ISA is based, which is a key election battle ground. Alan Milburn, the former Labour Cabinet minister and local MP is standing down at the election in a seat which until 1992 was Conservative held.