Safeguarding Adults Week: What is a DBS Adult First Check?

DBS Adult First Checks – What Are They?

With this week being National Safeguarding Adults Week, which gets us talking about how we can all work, and learn, to better safeguard adults, what better time is there to tell you about the DBS Adult First check?

You might have heard the name before, but with that said, what actually is an Adult First Check? Why is used? And what happens if someone is on it?

Well, we’ll discuss all that and more, in this post.

Why Use an Adult First Check?

When hiring for a position where the applicant will be working with vulnerable adults (positions governed by the Care Quality Commission), employers need to make sure that the candidate is not on the Adult’s Barred List.

This list contains names of people who are not allowed to work with elderly people and those who are unable to care for themselves (vulnerable).

A person is placed on this 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, so it’s important that it is used properly.

Hiring someone who is on the Adults First Check/Adult’s Barred List is illegal, meaning both the employer and candidate will get into serious trouble if it happens.

How Does an Adult First Check Work?

An employer will complete an application form for an Enhanced DBS check, but then also specify the need for an Adult First check. This is what enables employers to check candidates against the DBS Adult’s Barred List, which is done during Stage 3 of the DBS process.

The regular Enhanced DBS check (without barred) goes through Stages 1, 2, 4 and 5, whereas the Enhanced with Barred List check is the only DBS check to go through all 5 stages.

If they pass the Adult First section of the check, it allows a candidate to start working under supervision whilst waiting for their DBS Certificate. This is used as a temporary solution to staffing problems until the completed Enhanced DBS Certificate is issued.

When Should an Adult First Check be Requested?

A DBS Adult First check should only be used to assist someone in covering staffing issues, such as a lack of staff (provided they are supervised at all times).

Adult First Checks can only be requested if the applicant’s role or duties are involved in “regulated activity” with vulnerable adults, and the Disclosure and Barring Service has strict criteria regarding the eligible applicants which include:

  • 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.

Who Can Request an Adult First Check?

Only an employer or organisation can request an Adult First check for candidates whose duties include working in regulated activities, that directly involve vulnerable adults.

This allows the individual to begin working with vulnerable adults, but only under supervision. Once the Enhanced DBS with Barred List Certificate is returned, the candidate can perform their duties unsupervised if they are deemed eligible to do so.

Examples that may require this check are:

  • Care Homes.
  • Domiciliary Care Agencies.
  • Adult Placement Schemes.

Please note, this service is only available to organisations who are eligible to access the DBS’s Adult’s Barred List, and who have requested a check of the Barred Lists on their DBS application form.

The DBS Adult First cannot be applied for separately, and can only be requested when doing an Enhanced DBS check (where the 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 Adults first check to be done.

What Does The Adult First Check Contain?

Usually, within 48 hours or less, the employer receives information clarifying whether the candidate is on the Barred List, or if they should wait for the certificate to be issued.

If The Person ‘Passes’ The Adult First Check

If the candidate’s name can be verified within 48 hours to not be on the Adult Barred List, the employer is notified with the following message:

“No match exists for this person on the current Adults’ Barred List.” and means the candidate can begin working under supervision.

If The Person Does Not ‘Pass’ The Adult First Check

However, if there is a match of the candidate’s name in the Adult’s Barred List (or further investigation is needed), or if the DBS has not been able to completely verify within the 48-hour time frame that the applicant’s details are definitely not listed on the Barred List, the employer will receive the following message:

“Please wait to view applicant DBS Certificate”.

In this instance, the candidate cannot be hired until the DBS certificate is returned

How to Apply for an Adult First Check

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

Aaron’s Department’s online system allows you to automatically request a check by ticking the ‘Adult First required?’ box when creating the application – it’s as simple as that!

We provide all types of DBS checks, including the Enhanced DBS checks with Barred Lists information and the Adult First check, to organisations located in England and Wales.

Our online system allows us to provide a very cost-effective and fast service.



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