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What to do if you are worried about a child

Disclosure and Barring


An employer may request a criminal record check as part of their recruitment process. These checks are processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

For certain roles, the check will also include information held on the DBS children’s and adults’ barred lists, alongside any information held by local police forces, that is considered to be relevant to the applied-for post.

These checks are to assist employers in making safer recruitment and licensing decisions, however a check is just one part of recruitment practice. When a check has been processed by the DBS and completed, the applicant will receive a DBS certificate.

The DBS can’t access criminal records held overseas so a DBS check may not provide a complete view of an applicant’s criminal record if they have lived outside the UK.

Employers should still ensure that they have access to all the information available to them, to make a safer recruitment decision. You can read about how to get a criminal record check for overseas applicants, or those who have previously lived outside the UK, on the Home Office website.

The code of practice

The code of practice is issued under section 122(2) of the Police Act 1997. Organisations using the DBS checking service must comply with the code of practice. It is there to ensure that organisations are aware of their obligations, and that the information released will be used fairly.

The code also ensures that sensitive and personal information, disclosed by the DBS, is handled and stored appropriately and is kept for only as long as is necessary.

The code of practice for registered persons and other recipients of DBS check information can be found here.

Referring a teacher in England to the Teaching Agency

If the person to be referred to the DBS is a teacher in England consideration should also be given to refer the case to the Teaching Agency. The Teaching Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for Education, responsible for the regulation of teachers in respect of serious misconduct.

Find out more at the Teaching Agency's website.

Contacting the DBS

Email: customerservices@dbs.gov.uk or 03000 200 190


DBS Checks: Guidance for Employers

DBS Checks: Detailed Guidance


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