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The DBS (formerly CRB)
As a result of the passing of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the CRB and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) combined their current functions to become a new safeguarding system called the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This area offers information around the legislative changes made as the DBS was formed in 2012.
What were the main changes?
The changes introduced through the Protections of Freedoms Act 2012 are listed below. Click on and off each title to see a description of the changed aspects of the scheme. Please also see the accompanying Glossary to this information.
>   Regulated Activity

Regulated Activity relating to children comprises:

Regulated Activity:
i. unsupervised activities: teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/ guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;

ii. work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact: e.g. schools, children’s homes, childcare premises. Not work by supervised volunteers;

Work under (i) or (ii) is regulated activity only if done regularly: “regularly” is defined as;
Once a week or more, or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period, or overnight.


There is no longer a reference to 'vulnerable' adults
. Instead the emphasis is on specific care focused activities with adults such as; providing health care, personal care, social work. The time and frequency elements of the definition of Regulated Activity do not apply, meaning that even if an individual is engaging in health care activities with an adult only once, a DBS Check with Adults Barred List Check is required. However, this does not include incidental help, for example occasional assistance within the community dance setting.

Further information on Regulated Activity in relation to children and vulnerable adults is shown within the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act

>   Minimum age (16) at which someone can apply for a DBS check

The reasoning for preventing checks on under 16's is tha people under 16 should not be in positions where they are in sole charge ofchildren or acting unsupervised.

>   Repeal of registration and monitoring

This is official confirmation that the previous Vetting and Barring scheme (the introduction of which was suspended in June 2010) will now not be introduced.

>   Repeal of additional information

This is essentially a technicality about the rarely used processes by which the police release information that relates to ongoing investigations. The old process known as “brown envelope” information will cease, but the police will still be able to tell organisations using other existing powers.

>   Repeal of Controlled Activity

The Controlled Activity category will no longer exist. This category covered people who might have less contact with vulnerable groups including children than people in regulated activity – for example, some people who deal with records and/or sensitive data of vulnerable groups. People in those roles may be eligible for a DBS Enhanced Check, depending on the duties within the role.

>   A more rigorous relevancy test for the police when they release locally held information

These changes will reduce what the police can disclose through a DBS Check and will allow individuals to ask the Independent Monitor to review what is disclosed on their certificate.

>   Copies of the applicants’ DBS check certificate will no longer be sent to the Registered Body

The Registered Body (in this case, FCD) that countersigned the application will be informed whether the certificates are clear or not, but not sent the actual certificate. There is no commencement date for this as yet, so for now its’ business as usual.

What stayed the same?

The eligibility for Enhanced DBS Checks did not change significantly. There is, however, no entitlement to check the Barred Lists for those roles that fall outside the definition of Regulated Activity.

The following still applies:

  • Organisations must not employ someone in Regulated Activity whom they know has been barred by the ISA
  • Regulated Activity still excludes family arrangements and personal, non-commercial arrangements
  • Appropriate referrals to the ISA should continue to be made.