Adult Safeguarding

Apply for a DBS Check

Safeguarding is a word you see used all the time, but do we really understand what it means? Safeguarding in a DBS context is about taking steps to protect the well-being, health and rights of children and vulnerable adults. Organisations which come into contact with vulnerable adults should therefore have in place safeguarding policies to ensure that members of staff know what they should be doing in terms of protection.

Safeguarding and child protection are often used interchangeably, so how could safeguarding refer to adults? Adults who have a disability, patients in hospital, or are elderly and frail are considered vulnerable too. In many organisations, safeguarding is more than just making sure all members of staff have DBS checks. It’s also about issues such as designing buildings for safety and security or ensuring everyone has access to the information they need.


DBS Checks and Safeguarding for Adults

DBS checks are just one part of a robust safeguarding process for workers, but a very important part. There are three levels of DBS checks, and the certificate required by an individual will depend on the sort of job they will be doing. People working or volunteering with vulnerable adults will usually need an enhanced DBS check, which is a detailed look into someone’s past criminal record.

Jobs involving work with vulnerable adults are classed as regulated activity, and it’s illegal for people who are employed in these positions to work without a DBS check. Enhanced DBS checks consider an applicant’s entire criminal record, not just the most recent convictions or cautions. In addition, the applicant’s name will be checked against the Barred List, which is a government held register of everyone who has been legally barred from working with adults. If your name does appear on the barred list, then employing you is illegal.


DBS Checks with a Criminal Record

Rules about who can work with vulnerable adults are rightly strict, but they are often interpreted as meaning that anyone who wants to work in a care home or hospital needs a clear criminal record. This isn’t actually the case, as there are not requirements laid down in law about how employment decisions should be made. The onus is on the employer to consider each case on its merits.

Employers will look at the type of criminal conviction or caution revealed in an enhanced DBS check, and assess a person’s record against the work they are going to be doing. Often, employers aren’t as bothered about minor criminal records as employees think they might be. Many are prepared to overlook a few minor convictions; all they are interested in is weeding out the people who pose a real danger to their residents or patients.

The best policy approaching an interview or application where you know you will be asked for a DBS check is to be very honest with your employer. They will be more interested in whether you’re a reformed character, who has been employed and making a contribution since they got on the wrong side of the law.