Press release

Chief executive and chair of new disclosure and barring service announced

The creation of a new streamlined organisation to oversee a scaled-back criminal records checking and barring system is a step closer.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) will implement a range of bold reforms to the criminal record checking system, which will see the number of posts requiring checks reduced from 9.3 million to 5 million.

The chief executive of the new body, which will replace the criminal records bureau and independent safeguarding authority from 1 december 2012, is Adrienne Kelbie, current deputy chief executive of Hull city council. The role of chair has been awarded to Bill Griffiths, who has held numerous board roles including chair of the forensic science service.

Criminal information and equalities minister Lynne Featherstone said:

‘The creation of the DBS is a significant milestone in our journey towards the restoration of much-needed common sense to the current system.

‘It will ensure that vulnerable people are properly protected without over-zealous, unwarranted intrusion into the lives of people who work so hard and often give up their own time to help them.

‘I am delighted to confirm the appointments of both Adrienne Kelbie and Bill Griffiths. Both bring a wealth of experience to these important posts and I have no doubt they will do an excellent job in establishing the new organisation.’

The DBS will oversee a number of key reforms to the system of criminal record checks and barring, including:

  • Reducing the number of positions requiring barring checks from 9.3 million to around 5 million - focusing on just those working most closely and regularly with vulnerable groups;
  • Introducing portable criminal records checks to eliminate many unnecessary repeat checks, along with an online updating service to make it easier for employers to assess individuals;
  • Removing the unnecessary category of ‘controlled activity’;
  • Ending the requirement for those working or volunteering with vulnerable groups to register and be continuously monitored;
  • Introducing a single criminal records certificate which will be sent only to the applicant;
  • Introducing - for the first time - an independent right of review to allow individuals to challenge information disclosed about them before it is given to their employer.

Adrienne Kelbie said:
‘It will be my privilege to work with in an area that is so important, safeguarding those that need us the most.

‘Making it easier for people to work with vulnerable groups including children will encourage volunteering, help small organisations, and remove the financial barriers faced by many applicants. However, at the same time, we need only think of the consequences of failing to protect these groups and to appreciate how critical our decisions are.

‘I look forward to reflecting the needs of our customers and stakeholders in our work, by supporting the DBS board and leading two excellent teams to build a new organisation with energy and enthusiasm.’

Bill Griffiths said:

‘I am delighted to have been appointed chair of the disclosure and barring service at a time of significant challenge in launching a new organisation.

‘I am committed to working with the new chief executive and the staff of the current organisations, creating a leadership team, a vision and a delivery programme that will meet the needs and expectations of our stakeholders and business partners.’

Notes to editors

1. Adrienne Kelbie has 13 years experience at UK board level in a national NDPB including playing an integral role in the merger of three UK bodies. She is currently the deputy chief executive and corporate director of business support at Hull city council.

2. Bill Griffiths has 20 years experience in senior roles with Unilever and ICI. He was chair of the forensic science, and is currently chair of the fire service college; non-executive director on the ministry of justice departmental board; chair of the audit committee and non-executive director of the child maintenance and enforcement commission.

3. The recruitment process for the chair was carried out in line with the office of the commissioner for public appointments (OCPA) guiding principles, which can be viewed at

This states:

‘All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public.’

4. The recruitment process for the chief executive was carried out in line with home office principles of fair and open competition and the successful candidate was appointed on this basis

5. The DBS is a non-departmental public body which will house the functions currently performed by the criminal records bureau and independent safeguarding authority. It will commence operations on 1 December 2012.

6. For more information, contact home office press office on 020 7035 3535.

Published 14 June 2012