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Protection of Freedoms Act

Whilst it currently remains business as usual at the DBS and the ISA, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will bring changes to the criminal records checking process. There will be a timetable of change around these new provisions that will be brought in over the coming months. It may mean you need to amend your internal processes and documentation to incorporate these changes. From 10 September 2012, the following changes will impact on your checking processes:

  • Regulated Activity is being redefined to focus on work which involves close and unsupervised contact with vulnerable groups. The activities and work that are being taken out of Regulated Activity will still be eligible for Enhanced DBS checks. For further information on the proposed changes and the new definition of Regulated Activity, please refer to the guidance leaflet: ‘Changes to disclosure and barring: what you need to know’ at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/crime/disclosure-and-barring/
  • Applications can only be submitted to the DBS for Standard or Enhanced checks where the applicant is aged 16 or over at the time of making the application.
  • Applications for Controlled Activity positions can no longer be submitted, as this provision will have been repealed.
  • Additional Information will no longer be sent to Countersignatories as part of the Enhanced DBS application process. This is the information sent separately, where applicable, from the police via the DBS but does not appear on an applicant’s certificate. The police still retain the right to share information under their common law powers.

The following changes may impact your suitability assessment and is part of the recruitment process:

  • Data sources will apply the higher relevancy test to intelligence and other information; changing the test from ‘might be relevant’ to ‘reasonably believes to be relevant’.
  • The role of the Independent Monitor will include a process to review whether any Approved Information contained on a DBS certificate meets the higher relevancy test.
  • Persons other than the applicant can raise a dispute if they believe any information contained on a DBS certificate is inaccurate.