Adult First Check: What You Must Know in 2024

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Adult First Checks Completed Quickly And Efficiently!

Aaron’s Department helps organisations providing healthcare to vulnerable adults get their staff DBS checks as quickly as possible. An Adult First check returns an applicant’s Adult’s Barred List results, usually within 48 hours, allowing them to start work under supervision, before their Enhanced DBS certificate is returned.

Enhanced checks sometimes take a while to be returned, so this can be extremely helpful for healthcare providers who need their care staff to start work ASAP.

What Is An Adult First Check?

A DBS Adult First check is an optional, paid addition to an Enhanced DBS check with a Vulnerable Adult Barred List check. The Adult First check allows employees who will be engaging in regulated activities with vulnerable adults to start work (under supervision) before their enhanced DBS certificate is completed and returned.

The Adult First check takes place during stage 3 of the checking process, which usually occurs within 48 hours of applying.

Why Use an Adult First Check?

When making a recruitment decision for a position that involves working with vulnerable adults (positions governed by the Care Quality Commission), employers should make sure that the applicants are not on the Vulnerable Adult’s Barred List. This list contains the names of people who are legally not allowed to work with Vulnerable Adults.

This is normally not a problem for employers, who simply get their staff an Enhanced DBS check with an Adult’s Barred List check. However, if a healthcare employer needs staff urgently, having to wait potentially a week or more for an Enhanced check to be returned might not be an option – patients’ health could be at risk.

This is the main purpose of the Adult First check, and its most common use.

A person is placed on the Vulnerable Adult’s Barred list if they have committed criminal offences which were directly involved with vulnerable adults, or they are deemed to be a risk to vulnerable adults. These lists have been maintained by the DBS since its founding back in 2012.

When Can an Adult First Check be Requested?

A DBS Adult First check is used to assist you in covering staff shortages (provided they are supervised at all times) and can only be requested if the applicant’s role or duties involve ‘regulated activity’ with Vulnerable Adults.

Please note, that if they will be working around children as well, then this check is not appropriate. To legally engage in regulated activity with children, the individual will have to wait until the certificate is completed – there is no equivalent of the Adult First check for working with children.

Who Can Request an Adult First Check?

An Adult First check can only be requested alongside an Enhanced DBS With Adult’s Barred List check. The Disclosure and Barring Service has several criteria regarding the eligibility of applicants for an Adult First check:

  • The position must require a criminal record check by law.
  • Positions must be eligible for access to the DBS Adults’ Barred List.
  • Organisations must have requested a check of the DBS Adults’ Barred List on the DBS application form.

Adult First Checks are only available to those working in an adult care service, where an Enhanced DBS check is required by the law.

Only an employer or organisation can request this check for candidate duties that involve working in regulated activities that directly involve working with vulnerable adults.

Examples that require this check are:

  • Care Homes
  • Domiciliary Care Agencies
  • Adult Placement Schemes

The DBS Adult First cannot be applied for separately, and can only be requested when you are doing an Enhanced DBS check (where regulated activity is being performed). The employer can then, once the DBS application has been submitted to the DBS and passed Stage 1, request the Adult First check to be done.

Our Aaron’s Department online system allows you to automatically request a check by ticking the ‘Adult First required?’ box when creating the application.

Important Note

An Adult First DBS is not suitable when the candidate will be working with both children and adults. Whenever children are involved, an Adult First DBS is not suitable. You will need to wait until the Enhanced DBS with Barred List certificate is returned. There is no equivalent ‘Adult First check’ for regulated activity with children.

What Does The Adult First Check Show?

The possible results of a barred list check are:

  • The applicant‘s name is verified as not being on the Adult Barred List – The applicant can start working under supervision.
  • The applicant is on the Barred List – The DBS sends the following message: “Please wait to view applicant’s DBS Certificate.”
  • Further investigation is needed to determine whether the applicant is on the Barred List – The DBS sends the following message: “Please wait to view applicant’s DBS Certificate.”
  • The DBS cannot verify the applicant within 48 hours – The DBS sends the following message: “Please wait to view applicant’s DBS Certificate.”

As you can see, receiving a “please wait” response doesn’t necessarily mean the applicant is on the barred list, so don’t presume any guilt! It could simply mean that the DBS has run into difficulty verifying the individual within the 48-hour timeframe.

It could mean that there is a person with similarities (e.g. name, D.O.B etc.), or that there has been a criminal conviction that needs exploring further. Unfortunately, it also means your applicant can’t start work until they receive their certificate – thankfully, this situation doesn’t happen often.

What Happens If The Candidate’s Name Is On The Adult’s Barred List?

If someone is on the Adult Barred List, they have been classified as a potential risk to vulnerable adults because of their previous behaviour. This will be shown on the applicant’s DBS certificate.

As stated by the UK Government’s regulation, it is a criminal offence for a barred individual to work in an environment they are barred from. It is a criminal offence for the individual to even apply for a job that involves working with their respective Barred List group, and it is also a criminal offence for an employer to hire them for such a position.

Important Notice

In cases where an employee who initially was not on the Vulnerable Adult’s Barred list when first hired proves to be harmful, employers are legally obliged to refer them to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

As stated by the UK Government, employers are obliged by law to report someone as unfit to work with children or vulnerable adults if the employer:

◉ Sacks them because they harmed someone.

◉ Dismisses them or changes their role because they might have harmed someone.

◉ Was planning to sack them for either of these reasons, but they resigned first.

How do I get an Adult First Check with Aaron’s Department?

DBS Adult First checks are part of the Enhanced DBS check and cannot be applied for separately.

Adult First checks can be requested by an employer once the Enhanced DBS application has passed DBS Stage 1.

Aaron’s Department’s online system allows you to automatically request a check by ticking the ‘Adult First required?’ box when creating the application.

Registering With Aaron’s Department

Aaron’s Department provides all types of DBS checks, including Enhanced DBS checks with Barred Lists information and the Adult First check. Our online system – developed in-house – allows us to provide a very cost-effective and fast service. Registration is free, and our friendly support team will answer any questions you may have.

No Hidden Costs, and a Fast, Effective Service

As an Umbrella Body, Aaron’s Department is connected directly to the UK Government’s gateway. This means we can process checks and send them on to the DBS as quickly as possible, resulting in a promptly returned Enhanced DBS Certificate. How quick? We guarantee that every DBS check we receive before 4pm on a weekday is processed and sent the same day.

Unlike other companies who offer similar services, we do not hide behind subscription methods or hidden fees. All our expenses are included on our website for both paper and online applications – nor do we charge extra for fast-track DBS checks (unlike a lot of our competitors). All our DBS checks are fast-tracked for free, as standard.

Additional discounts as free admin credit are available depending on the number of checks required and advanced payments made.

You can check our DBS pricing by visiting our online DBS Check pricing page.

If you’re interested in our services, follow the button below to register with us for free. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us at or call us on +44 113 877 0171. Our team is always happy to help!