DBS checks play a key role in verifying the suitability of a candidate for employment or voluntary work. The process is not perfect, however, and sometimes concerns may be raised where they are not justified or no longer applicable. This can, in turn, lead to the refusal of candidates for roles. If you are being placed on a DBS barred list, or your DBS check shows details that are incorrect, a DBS appeal through a licensing Solicitor will seek to resolve this as quickly as possible for you.

As one of the UK’s most highly-regarded, successful, and busy criminal and regulatory law firms, our Barristers and Solicitors have a wealth of experience in dealing with DBS check problems and appeals. The Legal 500 describes us as:

“A forward-thinking firm with its finger on the pulse of the market. Head and shoulders above a lot of the competition. Agile and modern.”

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

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is provided by the government to assist employers in ensuring that only suitable candidates are considered and unsuitable candidates are prevented from working with vulnerable groups and children. DBS checks are also required when applying for licences such as:

There are several types of DBS checks available, each providing different levels of information:

  • Basic check – contains details of unspent convictions and cautions listed on the Police National Computer (PNC).
  • Standard check – used for certain types of duties, positions, and licences such as court officers, those working in prisons, and SIA licence applications. This provides details of spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC).
  • Enhanced check – commonly used for roles including caring, training, supervising or responsibility of children, and certain activities involving adults in a health care or social care setting, and those applying for gaming and lottery licences. In addition to the information on the standard check from the PNC, this check provides information held by police forces.
  • Enhanced with a barred list check – this is only required for a very limited number of roles, including those applying to adopt a child and drivers applying for a taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licence. This includes the contents of the enhanced check in addition to verifying if a person is on the children’s and/or adult’s barred lists.
  • DBS adult first check – provides a check of the DBS barred adult list, which then allows a person to start working with vulnerable adults before a full DBS certificate is provided.

What does DBS barring mean?

If a person is on the adult or child barring list, it means they may pose a future risk of harm to vulnerable groups. If a person is barred, this will be shown on their DBS certificate. DBS barring decisions are supposed to be:

  • Fair
  • Consistent
  • Thorough
  • Appropriate to the behaviour that occurred, and;
  • Based on the risk of future harm.

A person can be barred automatically, following disclosure (i.e. following a DBS check) and following referral by an employee, volunteer manager, or other organisation.

Making representations before being placed on a barring list

Before you are placed on a barred list, you will be given the opportunity to make representations allowing you to explain why you believe such actions would be inappropriate or disproportionate. Representations are put in writing and include your version of what happened, any mitigating factors, information from expert witnesses, testimonials, and details of your career.

Unfortunately, the disclosure of such information to a prospective employer can be extremely prejudicial to a person’s prospects of employment.

DBS Appeal: Can I appeal or raise a dispute with the DBS?

Yes, a person may wish to appeal to the DBS if they:

  • Are about to make a decision on whether to bar you, or they;
  • Have already added you to the list of people barred from certain roles.

Appealing will require them to review the decision where it is inappropriate or disproportionate to be included on a barring list.

In addition, you can also raise a dispute with the DBS service where a mistake was made on a DBS check. Candidates may raise a dispute where:

  • the DBS check provides information on the wrong person
  • your personal information is not correct
  • incorrect information is showing on the DBS check
  • spent offences or where the candidate was later acquitted are shown on a DBS check
  • incidents are shown which did not result in police action or arrest
  • a person is shown on the adult or child barred list when this is in error.

You will have three months to raise a dispute with the DBS.

The DBS rules state you can bring an appeal if:

  • you were automatically added following a relevant caution or conviction
  • you believe DBS has made a legal mistake
  • DBS barred you based on information that was wrong

At Reeds, our expert licensing and DBS check Solicitors can assist in addressing the problems that might arise from being barred or certain information being disclosed. Our team can seek agreement from the police to allow you to make a representation to them before they decide whether to include a particular entry on the DBS certificate. Where a person only became aware that information has been included after the DBS certificate was provided, Reeds can help you to provide representations directly to the Disclosure and Barring Service to have this removed.

Our success in DBS appeal and dispute resolutions

At Reeds, we have assisted many job candidates and license applicants to make successful DBS appeals and resolve DBS check disputes. In one recent case, we successfully represented a teacher whose DBS certificate contained details of an assault against a pupil of which he was acquitted at trial. In another case, a nurse received a DBS certificate that contained details of a sexual offence for which she was arrested but which did not lead to prosecution. In both cases were are able to have these details removed from the DBS check.

For a discrete consultation about how we can assist you, contact one of our Licensing and Regulatory Solicitors today. Alternatively, click here to provide us with your details, and one of the team will contact you as soon as possible.

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