You’ve probably heard of DBS checks, and know that this is a type of police check carried out to make sure that people who have a serious criminal past can’t get jobs working with children or vulnerable adults. DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service, and although the “disclosure” part of the title is about the police record searches, what is less understood is the “barring” part of the title. This refers to lists held centrally by the Police, which contain the names of people who have been convicted of certain crimes, and as part of the sentence, the Judge has ruled that they should be formally barred from ever working with vulnerable groups again. One of these lists is called List 99.
Education Act 2002
List 99 was a register held by the Department of Education and Skills which contained the names of all people barred from working with children. This list was set up over 80 years ago and was controversial because of the secrecy around it. In 2002 a new Education Act in England and Wales overhauled the List 99 system, and the barring list is now known as the Children’s Barred List. The of List 99 name persists though, mainly because it’s catchier than the modern alternative, and the long timespan during which List 99 was used. Nowadays, the registers of people who are banned from working with children are no longer held by the government, but by the DBS body instead.
Who is on List 99?
There is a long list of automatic barring offences which can be consulted online. These are offences which are very serious and are sexual in nature or involve violence. It’s a common misconception that the offence has to be carried out against a child to result in being included on the Children’s Barred List but this is not the case. Anyone convicted of a crime such as rape, supplying drugs, murder or people trafficking will have their name placed on the Barred List, irrespective of the age of their victims. The Barred List is UK wide, and the differences in legal terminology between the separate parts of the UK can lead to confusion for the employer. The employee however should be very clear that he or she is included on the list and should not be applying for jobs with children.
Unlike other sorts of disclosure checking where the employer is free to look at the information on the form and make their own judgement about whether the criminal record will not stop a job being offered, when it comes to List 99 the law is clear. Nobody whose name appears on any Barring list should be employed working with children. People who are included on List 99 cannot legally be employed in a role requiring an enhanced DBS check, and schools or other organisations which don’t perform checks properly leave themselves open to prosecution if they are not complying with the law. Although for many a DBS check is just a formality, it’s the responsibility of the employer to be on the lookout for anything unusual and act accordingly.