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Launch of disclosure and barring service

4 December 2012

On 1 December the Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) became the single body responsible for criminal records checking and barring functions. The DBS replaces the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority.

This new “one-stop shop” is part of the Government’s plan to streamline the vetting and barring system and help schools make safer recruitment decisions without unnecessary bureaucracy. It has immediate practical implications for schools. For example, where a school believes an individual poses a risk of harm to children, a referral must now be to the DBS, rather than the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The DBS’s role will also eventually incorporate other reforms in this area, such as portable CRB checking.

The introduction of a single body makes sense. However, the amount of reform in this area and the piecemeal approach may leave schools confused in the short term. New guidance is promised for 2013, until then schools are left to 'patch up' the 2007 guidance, a not entirely satisfactory position.

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