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Safe Recruitment

Feb 6, 2023

Organisations employing staff and volunteers to work with children and young people should have a consistent and thorough process of recruitment, that reduces the risk of selecting those who may pose a risk to children and young people.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The DBS replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in December 2012.

It allows employers to check the criminal records of employees and potential employees, in order to check if they are suitable to work with vulnerable adults and children.

The DBS is responsible for:

  • processing requests for criminal records checks (DBS checks, formerly CRB checks)
  • deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list (that is a list of people who are barred from working with children or/and vulnerable adults because they pose too great a risk to them)
  • placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Organisations must obtain a DBS check for staff and volunteers who have unsupervised or regular contract with children and or vulnerable adults. To do this, you must get an application form from an umbrella body, which must be completed by the staff member or volunteer, and must then be sent to the umbrella body.

Where an activity is unplanned and does not include unsupervised contact e.g. one-off day trip, a DBS check may not be required.

For more guidance on using Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, please check out the Our Decision guidance (click on the image above to open). This unique guide has been developed to provide voluntary and community sector organisations working with children, young people and families with a resource to support them with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application process and effective decision-making related to the level of supervision and checking required for different roles.

For more general information about the DBS visit:

Umbrella Bodies in Ealing

Ealing Council  Perceval House, 14-16 Uxbridge Road, Ealing, W5 2HL  Tel: (020) 8825 9000 (option 3, option 2, option 2, option 2)  Email:

Other checks

Whilst DBS checks are a valuable tool in identifying unsuitable staff, they form only one part of safe recruitment practice. For example, the majority of child sex offenders have no relevant criminal record. It is therefore essential that, in addition to DBS checks, the following must be carried out:

  • Recruitment documentation (e.g. Application forms) contains reference to organisations safeguarding commitment
  • A minimum of two references are obtained
  • References should be obtained before the interview (where possible)
  • Referees are asked questions relating to how suitable the applicant is to work with children/young people
  • Original or certified copies of documents confirming relevant educational and professional qualifications are obtained.
  • All applicants should bring evidence of their identity to the interview (e.g. passport, driving licence)
  • Any gaps in the applicant’s history (work/volunteering and education) should be explored.
  • Interviews should be rigorous in addressing safeguarding issues.

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