What is an Adult First Check?

Apply for a DBS Check

DBS checks can take several weeks to process, and this can lead to long delays for people who are hoping to start work in positions which require some degree of police checking on applicants. Although delays in the DBS system were reducing dramatically before the pandemic hit, they have started to creep up again as we all get back to work. One of the things which employers can do to speed up getting new people into their job roles is to use the Adult First system which isn’t open to every position, but can be very useful in certain circumstances.


Rules for Adult First Checks

Adult First checks, as the name suggests, only applies to people who will be working exclusively with adults, in a position which will require an enhanced disclosure check. There is no similar “children first” check for people working in schools or childcare settings, who have no option but to go through the full disclosure process. Adult First allows workers to start work with a preliminary check only, while waiting for their full disclosure certificate to arrive. Employees are not allowed to start work without an Adult First check, but the good news is that the processing time for these are much shorter, often as little as 48 hours. Employees who have only had an Adult First check still require a degree of supervision from more qualified members of staff.

An Adult First check looks at the Barred List for Adults. This is a Home Office register listing all of the people whose crimes mean they have been banned from applying for jobs with vulnerable adults such as those in hospitals or care homes. If the applicant’s name doesn’t appear on the Barred List, then they can start work. If the applicant’s name does appear on the list, then they should never be employed as they are committing a criminal offence in applying for a job they know they are barred from.


Who is Eligible for Adult First?

Only applicants who are applying for a position which requires an Enhanced DBS check with an Adults’ Barred List Check can use Adult First. If the position requires an enhanced disclosure but not the check of the Barred List then Adult First doesn’t apply. Adult First checks are primarily used for people who are going to be working in care homes, caring for people in their own homes, or working or volunteering in day care settings for adults of any age. The position has to be solely working with adults; anyone who is a carer for a mix of adults and under 18s is not covered by Adult First and would have to go through the full application process.


Benefits of Adult First

Adult First checks allow managers to recruit staff safely, and adhere to their safeguarding procedures. Employers who have also embraced the Adult System may also be able to recruit better applicants, who know they can start work straight away rather than being kept waiting around.