Changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 merged the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) into one body: the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS covers England and Wales with Disclosure Scotland and Access Northern Ireland fulfilling the same role elsewhere in the UK. The role of the DBS is to enable organisations from public, private and voluntary sectors to identify potential employees who may not be appropriate to work in certain roles with particular emphasis on those working with children or vulnerable adults. The new body became effective on the 1st December 2012.

Around a quarter of the working population of the United Kingdom work in circumstances that fall within the DRB’s remit.

Previously the DBS produced certificates listing an individual’s entire history of convictions regardless of when they occurred or the significance of the crime or misdemeanour. The recent upholding by the Court of Appeal of a complaint that such a blanket approach risked breaching peoples’ right to privacy has required a change in policy and, since the end of May 2013, some convictions will be filtered.

Convictions can now be excised from the record if they meet the following three criteria: firstly, that at least eleven years have elapsed since the date of the conviction; secondly, that it is the individual’s only conviction and thirdly, that said conviction was not punished with a custodial sentence.


Furthermore, candidates are not obliged to inform potential employers of convictions which would not be appear on a DBS certificate. An employer taking such a conviction into account would risk prosecution uner the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *