The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is designed to aid employers in making safer recruitment decisions by vetting applicants who might be considered unsafe to work with vulnerable groups. It replaced the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) to help safeguard employers from recruiting people considered to be unsuitable for working with vulnerable groups, such as children.

Getting to grips with the regulated activities definition is key to understanding whether a business, or certain activities within it, are potentially affected by the vetting and barring process. The DBS provides a system of background checks on employees and volunteers, known as ‘disclosures’. An employer may be registered with the DBS or it can use a registered body which gives access to DBS checks. This members-only factsheet provides an overview of the process and highlights the importance of compliance with the DBS to avoid committing a criminal offence.

Background to the Disclosure and Barring Service

Disclosure and barring process

Filtering of old and minor cautions and convictions

Barred lists

Criminal offences

Action points

Useful contacts and further reading

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