SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    15.5 Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

    Last updated 12/11/2018

    The Duty to Refer

    If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason.

    The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

    The primary role of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups including children.

    Their statutory responsibilities are:

    • Processing requests for criminal records checks as deferred by Part V of the Police Act 1997; for applications made in England and Wales;
    • Deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed or removed from a barred list under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;
    • Maintaining the DBS children’s barred list and the DBS adults barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    If you are an employer or represent an organisation and you have concerns that an individual has caused harm or poses future risk or harm to vulnerable groups including children you need to complete a DBS referral form.

    The DBS referral form can be downloaded from the DBS website. On the website you can also view the additional information form and find further guidance.

    Under the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, as agreed by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the following groups have the power to make a referral to DBS:

    Duty to refer:

    • Regulated Activity suppliers;
    • Personnel suppliers;
    • Employers and voluntary managers.

    Power to Refer

    • Local authorities (safeguarding role);
    • Education and library boards;
    • Health and social care;
    • Keepers of registers (GMC etc);
    • Supervisory authorities (e.g. CQC, Ofsted).


    An employer or volunteer manager is breaking the law if thy knowingly employ someone in a Regulated Activity with a group from which they are barred from working.

    A barred person is breaking the law if they seek, offer or engage in Regulated Activity with a group from which they are barred from working, be it paid or voluntary.

    Referring a Teacher in England to the Teaching Regulation Agency

    If a person you are referring to the DBS is a teacher in England you should also refer the case to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

    Who should make the referral?

    Employers in local authority children’s services have a statutory duty to make a report to the Department if they cease to use a person’s services, in other words dismiss them from work as a teacher or in a role involving regular contact with children, on grounds that the person has committed misconduct which harmed a child or placed at risk of harm a child, on grounds relating to their misconduct (for example if they falsely claim qualifications they do not possess), or on grounds relating to the person’s health, where this raises an issue relating to the safety and welfare of children.

    All registered childcare organisations have a statutory duty to refer the names of those individuals who occupied a child care position that they consider to be guilty of misconduct which harmed or placed at risk of harm a child.

    How to make a referral 

    It is important that full information about the behaviour of the person and how the judgement of the panel was informed is given to the Department. The referral form contained on the website, together with attached notes of meetings and details gained from the disciplinary investigation, should be completed and sent to the DBS. Reports should be made promptly, preferably within a month of the person’s dismissal or resignation.

    When there is no employer, a decision should have been taken at the beginning of the process as to who would carry out the employers’ functions. This person would be responsible for making any referral.

    To contact the DBS:


    By telephone: 0870 90 90 811

    By Post: 
    P.O. Box 110
    L69 3ET