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The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) were previously responsible for carrying out requested Criminal Record Checks or CRB checks on people. They have now merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and formed the Disclosure and Barring Service, referred to as the DBS. Therefore CRB checks are now called DBS checks

A DBS check can be requested by an organisation or employer. This involves checking the police records on a person for any spent, or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings. In some circumstances, information held by the Departments of Health and Education is also checked.

For example, a DBS check may be required by an organisation, which either employs people or takes on volunteers to work with young children or vulnerable adults, for those who work in the healthcare sector or for individuals who are applying to foster or adopt a child.

Types of employment that would require a DBS check include healthcare, carers, people in the education sector, and people taking part in any regulated activity in relation to children and adults within the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. As well as any work, or activity, that involves regularly caring for, training, supervising, or being solely in charge of vulnerable adults and children.

Other professions include Barristers, solicitors, chartered accountants, vets, registered foreign lawyers, judicial and court appointments, police, probation wardens, and prison workers to name a few. If in doubt it is best to check with the DBS.

Under normal circumstances, employers are not allowed to request details of criminal records from job applicants, however, for jobs that require a DBS check this rule does not apply. The employer or organisation must ensure that they are legally entitled to request a DBS check on the applicant before applying for one and that the job or role is eligible for a DBS check.
An employer should only carry out a DBS check on a successful applicant, and not prior to accepting them for the position. However, they are able to withdraw the job offer if it later transpires from the DBS check that the applicant is unsuitable.

There are different types of DBS checks available, these are Basic, Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced with list checks.  The level of the check that is required depends on the employment or voluntary work that will be undertaken by the individual.

Finally, we look at the DBS Barred Lists.  The DBS barred lists contain the names of people who are not suitable to work, either in a paid or a voluntary capacity, where the job requires them to care for, supervise, or to have sole responsibility for adults and or children. It is also against the law for an employer to employ anyone on this list to work with children and or adults in this capacity.

By law, employers must inform the DBS of anyone who has had their employment terminated due to harming an individual in their care or anyone who has been removed from working in a regulated activity. In cases where the employee has resigned prior to having their employment terminated or if terminating their employment was under consideration the employer still has a legal duty to advise the DBS of the situation.