What Are Disclosure and Barring Services?

A DBS check is a background screening service that allows employers to find out about people’s criminal records. It is used to help make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Who needs a DBS?

The disclosure and barring services (DBS) replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It provides access to criminal record information, helping organisations to make safer recruitment decisions.

DBS checks and barred lists are important safeguarding tools that help to protect children, young people and vulnerable adults from unsuitable or dangerous people. They are a fundamental part of every school’s safeguarding policy.

Types of disclosure and barring checks

There are three levels of DBS check, which cover different types of work with children and vulnerable adults. Each check includes a specific level of checking, including information held by local police and centralised computer systems.

A standard check is the lowest level and is often used for people entering certain professions or looking to adopt. The service is available from the DBS in England and Wales or Disclosure Scotland if you live in Scotland.

An enhanced check is the next level up and is often used for roles that involve’regulated activity’ with children or vulnerable adults. It includes everything that a standard check does, plus the candidate’s details on the children’s and/or adults’ barred lists, where relevant.

PVG scheme and adult first

The PVG scheme is a subscription-based service that reduces the need for people to complete detailed application forms every time their circumstances change. It also means that employers will always be able to check a person is a PVG scheme member, which will mean they will not be barred from working with children or protected adults, or both.

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