What Is A Barred List? A Complete Guide To DBS Barred Lists
If you’re looking into applying for a DBS check or you’re an employer who needs to run criminal background checks on your employees, you may have come across the term “barred list”.
If you’re not sure what a barred list actually is, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to describe exactly what a barred list is, why they are used, and how they are used.
What Are Barred Lists?
In a nutshell, barred lists are databases that contain details of individuals that have been banned from working with children or vulnerable adults due to past behaviour or offences. The idea of barred lists is to protect vulnerable people from potential harm caused by predatory, violent, and abusive criminals.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are responsible for compiling, maintaining, and checking the barred lists. The aim of barred lists is to prevent unsuitable people from working with children or vulnerable adults. If an individual’s name appears on one of the barred lists, they are automatically disqualified from any role that involves working with either vulnerable group.
How Many Barred Lists Does The DBS Have?
The DBS is in charge of two barred lists – one is for individuals that are unsuitable to work with children and the other for vulnerable adults.
If the individual has committed a serious offence, sexual assault for instance, then they may be added to both lists. The lists are constantly updated and maintained by the DBS.
Does The Barred List Get Checked For Every DBS Check?
In a word, no. The barred list is reserved for Enhanced DBS Checks with the additional barred list check, which is used only for “regulated activities”, i.e. working in close contact with children or vulnerable adults. This only accounts for around 10% of the UK workforce.
It is illegal for an employer to request or apply for an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List if the role does not require it – i.e. it is not defined to be a regulated activity.
For people that are engaged in, or applying to do, a role that involves a regulated activity, getting an Enhanced DBS Certificate and Barred List Check is legally required and the employer must request one before the person can continue or start work. The enhanced check application must be verified and submitted by the employer, it cannot be submitted by the individual alone.
What Is A Regulated Activity?
A regulated activity is a work activity that is classed as being very safeguarding-critical by the DBS. It almost always involves working closely with children or vulnerable adults. There are actually two definitions set out by the DBS, one for children and the other for vulnerable adults:
For working with children, a regulated activity is defined as:
- Unsupervised work in close proximity to children – e.g. schools or childcare facilities
- Unsupervised teaching, coaching, training, counselling, or caring for children
- Transporting children unsupervised – e.g. school-bus driver
For working with vulnerable adults, a regulated activity is defined as:
- Unsupervised healthcare services with vulnerable adults
- Social work
- Providing personal care
- Assisting vulnerable adults with day-to-day living
- Transporting vulnerable adults – e.g. mini-bus driver
In other words, if the role involves working with children or vulnerable adults in an unsupervised capacity, then it is considered to be a regulated activity and will need a full Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List Check.
What Happens If A Person Fails The Barred List Check?
If the barred list check reveals that the individual’s details are on one or both of the DBS barred lists, then they will not be allowed to take on or continue in the role in question. If their details are on a barred list, it means they are completely prohibited from working with one or both vulnerable groups.
What Offences Qualify People For The Barred List?
To end up on a barred list, the person must have committed a particularly serious crime that suggests that they will forever be a risk to children or vulnerable adults. The most common type of crimes that land people on a barred list are sexual offences or violence against children or vulnerable adults.
Anybody that has been convicted of abuse (physical or sexual) or serious neglect will most likely be added to the barred list. For less serious offences, the individual may formally request that their name is not added to the list or appeal any decisions made to place them on the barred list.
Are There Any Other Ways To End Up On A Barred List?
Being convicted of a crime is not the only way for a person to end up with their details on the DBS barred list. If somebody has been given an official caution ordering them to stay away from a particular vulnerable adult, child or children then there’s a good chance that they’ll be added to the barred list.
When it comes to cautions, the individual can make a case to the judge before they make a decision about whether to include their details on the DBS barred list.
Referrals To The Barred List
Occasionally, people may be added to the DBS barred list or lists by an organisation or official that refers them to the DBS. This may be due to suspicious behaviour or based on repeated claims of inappropriate behaviour towards vulnerable adults or children.
In the case of receiving a referral to the barred list, the DBS must investigate the claims thoroughly. The DBS has a special department to investigate these claims and the individual can make representations to counteract the referral. The DBS uses all the evidence, referral claims, and any representation from the individual to make their informed decision.
As soon as somebody’s name and personal details are added to the barred list, it is against the law for that individual to work in a role that involves direct contact with children or vulnerable adults. In fact, the person may be prosecuted for attempting to do so.
The Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List is the highest level of DBS check and is reserved for roles that include “regulated activities” as defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and is mandatory in those instances.
If an individual applies for a role that is deemed to be a regulated activity and they fail the barred list check (i.e. their details are present on one or both lists), then they will be prohibited from taking or continuing in that role.
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