A Brief History Of The DBS

A Brief History Of The DBS

When was it formed?

The DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) was formed back in 2012. Essentially replacing what was known as the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 that was pushed through that year. It was formed to merge these two authorities so that there was a central regulatory body that organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors can use to make better decisions when it comes to recruitment. It also ensures that those who are vulnerable such as those in care homes and healthcare are being cared for by people who are not only qualified but morally and ethically responsible and strict to their duty of care for the said individual. 

The introduction of safeguarding

Frighteningly, there was a time where there was no safeguarding process in place, It wasn’t until 2002 when the Department for Education began to compile a list of people who weren’t suitable to work with children. Initially referred to as ‘List 99’, this was later changed to the ISA Children’s Barred List and is now known as the DBS Children’s Barred List. This then inspired the Department of Health to introduce a version of List 99 for those in the care sector which was known as ‘POVA First’, which likewise was named ISA Adult First and now DBS Adult First. The online checking system that is part of the DBS checking process will check against both of these lists and will also liaise with the police service to ensure that any other convictions and cautions are also reported depending upon what type of check has been carried out. 

The DBS update service

In 2013 the DBS launched the update service which was brought in to make the whole process of applying for checks a lot more streamlined and cost-effective. It also means that when someone has obtained their DBS certificate, they can save it and take it with them from role to role depending on what level of check is required for that particular job. This saves time as it eliminates the need for the person whose subject to the check to have to continuously apply for disclosure after disclosure. Instead the employer can go online and find out if the certificate is up to date or if an update is needed before they can be fully reassured that they are going to be making the right decision.  

How does the process work?

The DBS is responsible for reporting all criminal recording data to organisations and employers that request it. This process is produces a DBS Certificate as the result of a DBS Check. This was initially known as a CRB check before the formation of the DBS. They can carry out four different levels of checks. These are basic, standard enhanced and enhanced with barred list checks. By far the most common is the enhanced DBS checks. Checks can only be undertaken with the permission of the person who is going to be the subject of the check. 

What is the turnaround time?

If you’re going to apply for a DBS check, the turnaround time if you’re not subscribed to the DBS update service can vary. For example, a basic check request will be a lower priority for the DBS rather than an enhanced DBS check. And so if you’re going to apply for a basic check you can expect a turnaround for around ten days. However, if you’re going for an enhanced check, you can typically expect to wait around five days. There is a turnaround time however of 24 hours if you apply for an enhanced with barring list check. However, if you are job hunting we would advise subscribing to the DBS update service so that you have your DBS certificate ready so that you avoid these turnaround times and prospective employers have readily available access to it. 

In summary

The DBS and their checks play a crucial role in the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children in their respective settings. It has come a long way over the last 20 years since the inception of the CRB. We can expect the DBS to develop over the next few years as it is currently undergoing a ‘modernisation update’ which aims to make the checks more cost-effective and timely both for employers and those wanting to apply for checks so that they can get their DBS certificate.

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