ENTERTAINMENT: CRB To DBS: Why The Change & What Does It Mean?

On December 1st 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to form the Disclosure & Barring Service or the DBS. Institutional changes were not implemented until May of this year, so they’re still fairly new and they’re still fairly unfamiliar to most parents. The question is - what do they mean? How do these changes affect parents and are they something to be worried about or reassured by? 

The primary role of the DBS is to help employers make safe decisions about those who work with children. Every parent knows or should know that there has always been a system in place to ensure that people with criminal records or convictions do not get the chance to work with children. This service will not change. The only difference is the title – CRB checks become DBS checks and CRB certificates become DBS certificates.  

For those who aren’t quite so familiar with the process – there are three main DBS checks. 

This is your bog-standard employee check. Not all companies conduct standard DBS checks, but most do. This check will tell an employer if a prospective employee has any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings. That employer will then be given the decision to hire that individual regardless of their past. This type of check should NOT be used for positions involving child care. It is not exhaustive enough, stresses Lisa Hill from the Oxfordshire Babysitting Agency. 

Again, not all employers use enhanced DBS checks but there are some who feel it’s necessary. Some positions require more trust and responsibility than others and it can be useful to know whether or not a prospective employee has a record of untrustworthy behaviour. This check covers everything included in the standard DBS check, but it also includes any information held by local police forces that might be considered relevant to the situation. This type of check is usually used to monitor those who wish to work with children. Depending on the type of offence committed, a person with a criminal record may still be able to work with children. It all depends on the discretion of the employer.  

Enhanced With A Barred List Check
This type of check is only available in very special circumstances- in the case of adoptive parents, for example. It covers everything in the enhanced DBS check, but also includes a run through of some very secure police ‘barred lists.’ If a prospective employer is on this barred list – he or she is completely  unsuitable for working with children and should not be allowed to do so. These are the very types of people that the DBS aims to monitor and bar from working with kids. 

All three of these checks will remain the same. 
There is one major change though – employers will not have to apply for a new certificate every time they start a new job, that is unless their record has changed in that time. According to the Clerk To Governers association, the hope is that this change will make it much easier and much less time consuming for nurseries, schools and childminders to employ help. In turn, things will be much easier for parents. Nurseries and schools take a huge amount of work to run successfully and it can only be a good thing that processes are being streamlined. 

What about your child, though? Will they be as safe as they were before the change or are these government cutbacks ignoring important issues? 

Well, no. Essentially, things will stay the same, says the government website. If a person who works with children gets into trouble with the police – their certificate will be made invalid until they apply for a new one that includes their recent conviction or caution. The measures used to protect your children are not being cut back, they’re being made more efficient. 

Sophie Wiggins is a police officer and father of three boys. She recommends DNA Kids entertainers for your kids parties, they are all DBS checked.  Sophie can be found blogging online about the keeping your kids safe.