Protecting the vulnerable through disclosure and barring arrangements in 2022

Disclosure and barring checks allow employers and organizations to discover whether applicants for posts have anything in their history which should prevent them from working in a regulated activity. There are legal requirements that these checks find.

Information on how to get a basic DBS check is provided by the government via its website – The Disclosure and Barring Service ensures safe recruitment involving work with all vulnerable people, including children. The decision on an applicant’s suitability is made by the DBS, who also have the power to remove someone from their list or place them on it.


Individuals placed on the barred list may have an opportunity to appeal after having exercised a right to reply to any barring order.

Employers have a legal responsibility to report individuals to the DBS if they have been removed from their position because they have or may in the future cause harm to a vulnerable person or child. Once people are on the DBS list, a basic DBS check will reveal their presence to employers.

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Even if you are not an employer but you believe that someone has harmed a vulnerable person or child, you should raise this with the police or social services.


The law is quite clear on responsibilities under DBS legislation. Anyone subject to a DBS order is committing a criminal offence if they continue to work with vulnerable adults or children. They will also be breaking the law if they try to work in a voluntary capacity which brings them into contact with either of these groups. Equally, an employer who knowingly hires such a person in either capacity is breaking the law. If there is uncertainty on what classes an adult or child as vulnerable, then there are ways of finding out. A legal expert would be able to explain what falls into the vulnerable category. Ascot Solicitors can help.

Recently, a new test for regulated activity has been brought into use by the DBS. This means a person can only be barred if the DBS believes that person has been or may possibly in the future be engaged in regulated activity. The unique exception to this is where a person is convicted of or cautioned in relation to an offence which would mean an automatic barring, and where the individual is not eligible to appeal the decision.

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The DBS works closely with the police, the Home Office and the Department of Health on safeguarding vulnerable groups, and the Department of Education on safeguarding children.



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