The DBS was formed in December 2012 when the CRB and ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) were merged. Since then criminal records checks have been undertaken by the DBS, which issues DBS certificates in place of the original CRB disclosures. In this respect there is no difference between a DBS and CRB certificate.

Individuals deemed to be in regulated activity are eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check against the barred list (for that activity).

Those who fulfil all criteria for regulated activity but are supervised are only being eligible for an enhanced DBS check without a barred list check.

An enhanced DBS check provides criminal information from PNC (the Police National Computer.) PNC including concerning cautions, convictions, and intelligence information as deemed relevant to their application by the Police.

The barred list check looks at the people who have been barred from working in regulated activity with adults, children or both and makes sure that your applicant is not among them. People may be barred for non-criminal behaviour.

A barred list check also indicates a barring notification. The majority of people with criminal histories that you may feel makes them unsuitable to work with children may not be legally barred from doing so.

Regulated activity is defined as, work which an individual who is barred from working with vulnerable groups including children must not do.

In summary, this includes:

  • Unsupervised activities: teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, or providing advice/ guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children.
  • Work being carried out regularly (at least weekly), frequently (four times a month or more) or overnight (between 2am and 6am) or work in a limited range of establishments ('specified places'), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children's homes, and childcare premises.

It is important for employers of staff or volunteers to determine which roles are considered to be regulated activity. It is an offence for a barred person to seek to work in regulated activity, and for an employer knowingly to employ a barred person in regulated activity. The government plans to introduce aspects of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 that will legally require employers to have established whether an individual is barred before placing them in regulated activity.

Guidance about the DBS process can be found on the DBS website.

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