On December 1 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service as set out under the timetable of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
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 who's responsible for taking barring decisions on new referrals and managing 2 barred lists, which replaced List 99, PoCA and PoVA Lists.
The system aims to give employers 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 Activity.
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.
All organisations engaging people in 'Regulated Activities' must have robust and transparent recruitment procedures in place to ensure children, young people and vulnerable adults are safeguarded and they should be familiar with the Local Safeguarding Children Board policies and procedures.
Before recruiting staff (whether paid or unpaid), the following should be considered:
- The application process should include the organisations commitment to safeguarding in for example the job description and any other documentation
- Thorough checks should be made of an applicant's identity, work history and references including any gaps in time
- Proof of qualifications should be obtained
- Checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service should be undertaken
- A probationary period and supervision of the person should take place
- References should be obtained and verified
This is not an exhaustive list but a framework for sound recruitment practice.
Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 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 Disclosure and Barring Service:
- Local authorities (safeguarding role);
- Education and library boards;
- Health and social care (HSC) trusts (NI);
- Keepers of registers eg General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council;
- Supervisory authorities eg Care Quality Commission, Ofsted.
Further information and guidance, including factsheets and instructions can be found in the Disclosure and Barring Service referrals guidance and Making safeguarding referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) leaflet.
Referring a teacher in England to the Teaching Agency
If the person to be referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service is a teacher in England consideration should also be given to refer the case to the Teaching Agency. The Teaching Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for Education, responsible for the regulation of teachers in respect of serious misconduct.
Find out more at the Teaching Agency's website.