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Disclosure Barring Service Appeals

In circumstances where the DBS is considering barring you following a referral, they will provide you with a “minded to bar” letter. Accompanying this will be the documents to be taken into consideration. You will then be provided with a period of 8 weeks in which to make a disclosure barring service appeal in writing.

In these situations, it is often advisable and beneficial to have written representations made on your behalf by a professional. A variety of matters will prove relevant to any decision including demonstration of insight, those who can attest to your character and any mitigating circumstances that are relevant.

At Nelson Guest, our solicitors have substantial expertise in handling Disclosure Barring Service appeals and will be on hand to support you with drafting an effective written representation, as well as advising on what needs information needs to be disclosed.

Get in touch with our DBS appeals solicitors

If you need legal support with Disclosure Barring Service appeals, contact our expert DBS lawyers in London today to set up your free 10-minute initial consultation. Call 020 8309 5010 | Ask us a Question | Email us

Navigating this page

What is a DBS check, and why are they carried out?

What are the different types of DBS checks?

What does a DBS barring mean?

Can I appeal to the DBS?

Can I raise a dispute with the DBS?

What is a DBS check, and why are they carried out?

A Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check is an official record which outlines an individual’s criminal convictions. These were previously known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks.

DBS checks are used by employers during the recruitment process to help decide whether you are a suitable person to be working for the company. This includes decisions regarding your fitness to work with children or vulnerable adults.

Depending on the type of job someone is applying for, there are different types of DBS checks which can be carried out. These are:

Basic DBS check

A basic DBS check is for any purpose, including employment. It will show any criminal convictions and conditional cautions which are not spent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. It is possible for any individual to apply for a basic DBS check if they live or work in England or Wales.

Standard DBS check

A standard DBS check will show details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions and reprimands that are held on the Police National Computer. This excludes protected convictions and cautions.

Enhanced DBS check

An enhanced DBS check will contain the same details as a standard DBS check, as well as non-conviction information which is supplied by relevant police forces if it is deemed appropriate. These checks are suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances, such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care.

Enhanced DBS with list check

This is a check which will show the same information as an enhanced DBS check but will also show a check of the DBS childrens’ and adults’ barred lists. These are lists of individuals who are barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.

What does a DBS barring mean?

The DBS barring lists contain a list of people who are prohibited from working with children and vulnerable adults. It is a criminal offence for a person to work with a group from which they have been barred from working. It is also an offence for an employer to hire a person to work in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults if they have been barred.

DBS barring list removal may be possible, but this can only be done if someone is successful in appealing a decision.

Can I appeal to the DBS?

DBS appeals are possible if the DBS:

  • Makes a decision to add you to the list of people barred from certain roles
  • Have previously added you to the list of people barred from certain roles, and you want them to review the decision

The decision can be changed if the appeal is successful.

Can I raise a dispute with the DBS?

Where you do not agree with any aspect of a DBS check, or you believe an error has been made, a dispute can be raised.

How our solicitors can help with DBS appeals and disputes

Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper tribunal

As with most appeals processes, when submitting DBS appeals and disputes, a person would need to demonstrate that an error of fact or law has been made.

DBS appeals can also be made in order to review previous decisions made, although certain periods of time need to have elapsed in order to ask for a review, all dependant on the age of the party at the time that they were barred.

Generally speaking, it must be proved on the balance of probabilities that a “significant risk to vulnerable adults or children” is no longer posed. Each case is fact specific but some of the decisions will depend on what has happened since and the circumstances demonstrating why a change of circumstances has arisen. For reference to the periods required to have elapsed the position is as follows.

  • Under 18 years of age – 1 year following barring
  • 18-24 – 5 years following barring
  • 24 and above – 10 years following barring

A variety of circumstances may be relevant to a change of circumstances, such as a successful Judicial Review or appeal in regard to a conviction, or evidence of a significant change of circumstances owing to rehabilitation in the commensurate period of time following barring. As stated above all of these matters would be fact specific.

Enhanced DBS checks and regulated areas 

In regulated sectors involving work with children or vulnerable adults an enhanced assessment applies and will trigger a Police National Computer check with a turnaround time of around 8 weeks. Often even where convictions or cautions do not apply “other relevant information to be provided may include cases resulting in no further action or a household member having a series of convictions, (for instance).

A chief officer is duty-bound to consider matters that “may be relevant” and “ought in all the circumstances to be included”. Often reviews of the chief officer can be sought based on either a lack of consideration of the facts available, the time elapsed or surrounding circumstances that are particularly relevant to the scenario.

Therefore, it is often key to obtain advice at an early stage, where it may or may not be advisable to write representations to the Chief Officer in order to try and negate any foreseeable problems going forward. Proportionality will also play a deciding factor in this decision-making process.

Advice on what matters need to be disclosed

Not all convictions or cautions need to be disclosed. Our DBS lawyers can assist you with what does need to be disclosed including non-custodial sentences and cautions.

Police procedures for disclosure to third parties

While differing from the DBS checking system, what a Police Officer chooses to disclose is still a matter of fact. It may be the case that employers or regulators still seek certain information. A short period of time is provided for individuals to provide representations in regard to the relevance or validity of any such disclosure to third parties. We can assist in providing representations on such matters in order to try and prevent disclosure.

The same proportionality test will apply when considerations are made and that is why representations are such a valuable tool in the circumstances.

Get in touch with our DBS appeals solicitors

If you need legal support with Disclosure Barring Service appeals, contact our expert DBS lawyers in London today to set up your free 10-minute initial consultation. Call 020 8309 5010 | Ask us a Question | Email us