Employers are being let down by the UK's employee vetting body the Criminal Records Bureau, with organisations being given information that is often inaccurate or out of date.
At a time when UK bosses are more reliant than ever on trustworthy staff, research by the journal IRS Employment Review has found that one third of employers say information from the CRB is not always accurate.
A quarter of employers polled who used the CRB were unsatisfied with its administration and level of service.
Other findings that came out of the survey included that the majority of employers had a written policy on recruiting and/or employing ex-offenders.
Two-thirds of these had a standalone policy, while a quarter included details within a more general equal opportunities statement. For a small percentage – 7.4 per cent – the details formed part of their overall recruitment and selection policy.
Almost nine in 10 employers complied with the CRB's aim to avoid discrimination and waste time and only requested a disclosure on information after a conditional offer of employment had been made.
IRS Employment Review managing editor Mark Crail said: "The overriding rationale for setting up the CRB's disclosure service was to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions.
"The use of the CRB has a direct effect on the work of many employers. Despite reservations – which cannot and should not be ignored – about the quality of the disclosure service, most employers surveyed believe that these background checks for past criminal activity have helped their organisations to recruit more safely," he added.