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Vetting and barring

The law makes provision for the protection of ex-offenders to help with their rehabilitation (see 'Ex-offenders').
However, the law also recognises the necessity for employers to consider the background of individuals in order to assess their suitability for certain work and to protect vulnerable groups from risk.
Work involving activity with children or vulnerable adults is specifically regulated in law, and employers have legal obligations under the relevant vetting and barring schemes to carry out checks on those engaged in such activities.

Key points

  • An employer will commit a criminal offence if it engages or supplies a barred person to undertake a regulated activity
  • It is also a criminal offence for a barred individual to engage, or try to engage, in a regulated activity from which they are barred
  • The safeguarding schemes impose a duty on employers to refer relevant information about individuals carrying out regulated activities where this may affect their suitability to perform such roles in the future.
  • Where an employer's operation involves regulated activities, and it is recruiting individuals to roles which fall within those regulated activities, checks must be made with the Disclosure and Barring Service to ensure the individual is not barred from such employment and any offers of employment must make clear the employment is subject to this check.
Recent developments

Although individuals have been able to apply for a basic disclosure certificate through the DBS since 2014, in practice, basic disclosure applications in England, Wales and Scotland are made through Disclosure Scotland.

In January 2018, DBS will take over the basic disclosure service from Disclosure Scotland and applicants in England and Wales will have to apply directly to the DBS for a basic certificate. Disclosure Scotland will cease dealing with any requests from 17 January 2018, unless the applicant lives in Scotland.