Disclosure and Barring Service

Disclosure and Barring Service
Disclosure and Barring Service.svg
Agency overview
Formed1 December 2012[1]
Preceding agencies

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is a non-departmental public body of the Home Office of the United Kingdom. The DBS enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving children or vulnerable adults, and provides wider access to criminal record information through its disclosure service for England and Wales.[2]

The DBS was formed in 2012 by merging the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA)[1] under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.[3] The DBS started operating on 1 December 2012.[4] It operates from Liverpool[5] and Royal Wootton Bassett.[6] Its equivalent agencies are Disclosure Scotland in Scotland and Access Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland, although convictions from every part of the UK appear on it.

Legal context

It is a legal requirement in the UK for regulated activity employers to notify the DBS if a person leaves or changes their job in relation to having harmed someone.[7] It is an offence for any person who has been barred by the DBS to work or apply to work with the group (children or adults) from which they are barred.[8] It is also an offence for an employer to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity with the group from which they are barred.[citation needed]

An organisation which is entitled to ask exempted questions (under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) must register with the DBS, or a registered DBS Umbrella Body before they can request a DBS check on an applicant.[citation needed] The applicant applies to the DBS with their application countersigned by the DBS Registered Organisation or Umbrella Body.[citation needed] The applicant's criminal record is then accessed from the Police National Computer (PNC), as well as checked, if appropriate, against lists of people considered unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable people maintained by the DBS (formerly maintained by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.[citation needed] A copy of the completed certificate is sent to the applicant's home address.[9]

If an individual or organisation has safeguarding concerns regarding a member of staff, they can make a safeguarding referral to the DBS who will work with multiple agencies to assess whether that individual should be Barred from working in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable groups.[10]

Logo of the Criminal Records Bureau.

The Criminal Records Bureau was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002, following public concern about the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults.[citation needed] It was found that the British police forces did not have adequate capability or resources to routinely process and fulfil the large number of criminal record checks requested in a timely fashion, so a dedicated agency was set up to administer this function.[11]

Employers and temporary staff agencies have bemoaned the time it takes for a worker to be cleared by the DBS and in an effort to cut waiting times the government allowed the establishment of "Adult First" .[citation needed]