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Safer Recruitment and the Disclosure and Barring Service

On 1 December 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Further legislative changes will come in to effect during 2013 and 2014 and this page will be kept updated accordingly.

The Disclosure and Barring Service

The Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 set out the foundation for this scheme. The Disclosure and Barring Service has an Independent Barring Board (IBB) with responsibility for taking barring decisions on new referrals and the management of two barred lists which replaced List 99, PoCA and PoVA Lists.

The system aims to provide employers with a quicker and more effective vetting and barring service. All disclosures for work with children and vulnerable persons are to be at an enhanced level for ‘Regulated Activities’.

The new organisation, DBS, will provide a service combining criminal records checking and the barring functions:

  • The barring part of the DBS will provide Caseworkers who receive and process referrals about individuals who have harmed, or who pose a risk of harm to, children, young people or vulnerable adults.
  • The checking part of the DBS will allow employers to check and access the criminal record history of people working, or applying to work (whether paid or unpaid), in certain positions, especially those that involve working with children and vulnerable adults.
  • The DBS website provides a range of advice, guidance and relevant forms.


Regulated activity

Regulated activity is work that a barred person must not do.

Regulated activity relating to children is a term defined in law and is used to describe an activity which involves working with children, whether in a paid or unpaid capacity.

In general terms, regulated activity relating to children consists of:

  • Unsupervised activities undertaken regularly: teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, or providing advice/guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children
  • Work, undertaken regularly, for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’) with opportunity for contact, e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. This does not include work by supervised volunteers.
  • Relevant personal care, e.g. washing or dressing, or health care by or supervised by a professional
  • Registered childminding or foster care
  • Moderating online forums or chat rooms provided mainly for children where the person has access to the content and contact with users of the service.

More detailed information about regulated activity relating to children is available on the Department for Education website.


Safer Recruitment

All organisations in East Sussex engaging people in Regulated Activities must have robust and transparent recruitment procedures in place to ensure children and young people are safeguarded. They should be familiar with the East Sussex Safeguarding Children Board policies and procedures.

Before recruiting staff (whether paid or unpaid), organisations should do the following:

  • The organisation’s commitment to safeguarding children should be embedded in the application process, including referring to safeguarding in application documents
  • Job descriptions should state explicitly responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including individual, professional and organisational responsibilities
  • Thorough checks must be made of an applicant’s identity, work history and references, including any gaps in time
  • Proof of qualifications must be obtained
  • Checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service must be undertaken
  • References must be obtained and verified, and
  • A probationary period and supervision of the person should take place.

This is not an exhaustive list but a framework for sound recruitment practice. The LSCB’s Safer Recruitment e-learning programme will help provide an introduction for all staff, including volunteers, to their roles and responsibilities in supporting children and young people to stay safe in recruitment. Find out more details here: Safer Recruitment eLearning – Sept ’14
Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service:

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) places a legal duty on Regulated Activity Providers (employers, volunteer managers and personnel suppliers) to refer any person who has:

  • Harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult;
  • Satisfied the harm test; or
  • Received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence.

Under the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, 2006, the following groups have a power to make a referral to the DBS:

  • Local authorities (safeguarding role);
  • Education and library boards;
  • Health and social care (HSC) trusts (NI);
  • Keepers of registers e.g. General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council;
  • Supervisory authorities e.g. Care Quality Commission, Ofsted.

It may also be beneficial to register with the DBS (e-database) to be kept informed of changes to their services.

Further information and guidance, including factsheets and instructions can be found in the DBS referrals guidance and Making Safeguarding Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) leaflet.