Guidance

Information for individuals that have been referred to DBS

Guidance for referred individuals including why they may have been referred and what happens next.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is responsible for maintaining the adults’ and children’s barred lists. These lists include individuals that are barred from engaging in regulated activity.

DBS is also responsible for making informed decisions as to whether an individual should be included in one or both lists.

What is a referral?

A referral is information about an individual that has been provided to DBS.

The referral tells us of concerns that the individual may have harmed a child or adult, or put a child or adult at risk of harm.

Why have I been referred to DBS?

If you have been referred to DBS, this could be because of one of the following:

  • we have received information (a referral) from an employer about a conviction, caution, allegation, dismissal or resignation
  • we have received information from the police following an application for an enhanced DBS with barred lists check
  • we have received information following a change to your Update Service status

What happens next?

The stages of the barring decision-making process are detailed below.

Initial case assessment

DBS’ ability to decide whether an individual should be included in one or both of the barred lists falls under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) or the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Order 2007 (SVGO). DBS will determine whether the case falls within our legal powers under the SVGA/SVGO.

This will include considering if there is evidence that the person:

and the person:

  • has previously worked in, is currently working in, or might in the future work in, regulated activity – this can be established from the source of the referral, case material or other sources such as if the individual has applied for an enhanced DBS with barred lists check to work with vulnerable groups including children

If the above mentioned initial criteria are met, the case proceeds to the next stage.

Information gathering

The next stage of the process is for DBS to gather and assess information to establish relevant conduct or a risk of harm. DBS has no investigatory powers, so we rely upon the information provided by other organisations. This means that we may need to request additional information to support the decision-making process.

We will also consider any previous referrals we may hold about you, where applicable. This could provide evidence of cumulative behaviour that indicates a safeguarding risk.

DBS is required by legislation to regard convictions, police cautions and the findings of specified ‘competent bodies’ as facts in our decision-making. Further information gathering may be necessary as a result of any involvement from these organisations.

A list of competent bodies whose findings cannot be challenged with the DBS, can be found here.

The information gathering process can impact on the time it takes us to consider your case, particularly where little or no information has been provided to support the referral. We do however recognise the impact that the referral process can have on you, and endeavour to obtain the information we require as quickly as possible by actively chasing any requests we have sent for information.

Note, you can contact us during the referral process to request an update on your case. We cannot discuss specific details of the case however we can advise how far the case has progressed for example, if we are currently waiting for more information.

Case consideration

Once we have received the necessary information, your case will be allocated to a decision maker who will then determine if inclusion on one or both barred lists may be appropriate.

We will confirm the decision made in writing and provide further information to help you understand what you need to do next, if applicable.

Letters from DBS, what they mean and what to do next

“I have received a letter telling me that I have been referred.”

If you have been referred to DBS, this could be because of one of the following:

  • we have received information (a referral) from an employer about a conviction, caution, allegation, dismissal or resignation
  • we have received information from the police following an application for an enhanced DBS with barred lists check
  • we have received information following a change to your Update Service status

We will now seek further information about the circumstances of the referral.

At this stage in the barring process, there are no legal restrictions preventing you from engaging in regulated activity. There may however be other restrictions placed on you by other professional bodies and our decision does not override these.

If, after considering all the information, we think it may be appropriate to bar you from engaging in regulated activity with vulnerable groups including children, and include you in one or both barred lists, we will write to you to inform you of this.

We will also write to you if we decide that it is not appropriate to include you in one or both barred lists.

“I have received a letter stating that it is not appropriate to include me in the children’s barred list / the adults’ barred list.”

If you receive a letter stating that it is not appropriate to include you in the children’s barred list / the adults’ barred list, we will have been in contact with you previously to advise that we were considering information received about you.

This letter means that you will not be prevented from engaging in regulated activity and will not be included in the barred lists.

Note, other bodies including some professional bodies may place other restrictions on you and our decision does not overrule these.

“I have received a letter asking me to make representations.”

This letter is sent if we think it may be appropriate to include you in one or both barred lists. All documents used to reach this decision will be enclosed in this letter.

You now have the right to provide any information that could challenge our findings and/or explain why including you in one or both barred lists would be inappropriate or disproportionate. Any information you provide is known as your ‘representations’.

More information about representations can be found here.

“I have been barred. What does this mean?”

If you have been ‘barred’, this means you have been included in one or both barred lists, and have been barred from engaging in regulated activity with children, adults or both.

It is a criminal offence to engage or seek to engage in regulated activity or regulated work with the group from which you are barred.

If you are currently engaging in regulated activity with vulnerable groups including children, it would will be committing a criminal offence to continue to do so. The situation should be discussed with your employer as soon as possible.

If you are included in the children’s barred list, you are not allowed to engage in regulated activity with children (anyone under 18 years of age) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. You are also not allowed to carry out regulated work with children in Scotland.

If you are included in the adults’ barred list, you are not allowed to engage in regulated activity with adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You are also not allowed to carry out regulated work with protected adults in Scotland.

Inclusion in either barred list lasts indefinitely and is entirely separate from any other sanction imposed by a court or other organisation. You will remain included in one or both barred lists until we write to you advising otherwise.

Vulnerable groups including children and protected adults are defined in legislation as people receiving specific types of care and assistance.

For more information about protected adults and regulated work, visit Disclosure Scotland’s website here.

“I have been barred. What can I do now?”

If you have been barred, the following options are available to you:

Your right to a review

You may apply to DBS for permission to have your inclusion in a barred list reviewed.

More information about reviews can be found here.

Your right to appeal

You may appeal our final barring decision to:

  • the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in England or Wales
  • the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Care Tribunal in Northern Ireland

You may only appeal with the permission of the Tribunal, and on the grounds that we have made a mistake on any point of law, or in any finding of fact which we have made and on which the decision to include you in one or both barred lists was based.

If the Tribunal finds that we have made an error regarding either of these, the Tribunal may direct us to reconsider your case or remove you from one or both barred lists.

If you wish to appeal, you should send your request directly to the Tribunal, no later than three months from the date of your final decision letter. If you are late in applying for permission to appeal, you must ask for an extension of time and explain why you are late in sending your request. The Upper Tribunal or Care Tribunal Judge will consider if you are to be granted an extension of time and if not, they will not admit your application and you will not be able to appeal.

Further information about appealing can be found here.

How we use your information

Further information about how we will use any information you provide to us can be found in the following policies:

Published 2 August 2019