Understanding Barred List Checks

Barred List Checks and Safeguarding

Safeguarding is a crucial aspect of any role involving the care of children or vulnerable adults. It’s about having the right policies and procedures in place to keep these individuals safe from harm.

One important element of safeguarding is ensuring that employees or volunteers don’t have criminal convictions for offences that suggest that they might still pose a risk to others.

The easiest and fastest way to check whether someone may be a risk to children or vulnerable adults is with a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

At the highest level of DBS checks, known as Enhanced DBS Checks, there’s an additional component called a “Barred List check.” which checks the name of the applicant against the barred lists to see if their name appears on the lists of people barred from working with children or Vulnerable Adults.

Barred list check

What Is a Barred List Check?

The DBS maintains two lists of individuals who are prohibited from working with vulnerable people due to their past criminal activities. These lists are named the “Children’s Barred List” and the “Adults’ Barred List.”

When a Barred List check is requested, the DBS cross-references the applicant’s details with the relevant database. If there’s a match, the employer or organisation is alerted, and it’s illegal to appoint that person to a safeguarded role.

Who Conducts the Barred List Check?

In 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Interdepartmental Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to create the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS is responsible for conducting barred list checks and managing the data on the Barred Lists. The application process involves completing a form with the applicant’s personal details, which are then cross-checked against the Barred List if necessary.

Barred list check

Who Appears on the Barred Lists?

Individuals who have committed serious crimes that could jeopardise the safety of vulnerable groups will appear on one or both of these lists, depending on the nature of the offence. Some crimes are considered so serious that they lead to Automatic Barring, directly placing the individual on a Barred List.

An individual can also be added to the Barred Lists by their employer if they are referred to the DBS for conduct posing a risk to children or Vulnerable Adults. For example, if someone behaves inappropriately with a child, they can be referred to the DBS before being convicted of a crime. The DBS thoroughly evaluates each referral before deciding whether to include the individual on one or both of the Barred Lists.

Conditions that need to be met before making a referral to the DBS:

  • You have withdrawn permission for the person to engage in
    Regulated Activity with children and/or adults and:
  • You have moved the person to another area of work that isn’t Regulated Activity, or you have dismissed them. This includes situations when you would have moved the person but the
    person was re-deployed, resigned, retired, or left.

And you also think the person has,

  • Engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children and/or
    adults. An action or inaction has harmed a child or adult or
    put them at risk or harm
  • Satisfied the harm test in relation to children and/or adults,
    e.g. there has been no relevant conduct but a risk of harm
    to a child or adult still exists
  • Been cautioned or convicted of a relevant (Automatic Barring
    either with or without the right to make representations)

The Harm Test

Someone’s action satisfies the harm test when it appears that
they may:

  • Harm a child and/or an adult
  • Cause a child and/or an adult to be harmed
  • Put a child and/or an adult at risk of harm
  • Attempt to harm a child and/or an adult
  • Incite another to harm a child and/or an adult.

To make a referral, please go to: www.gov.uk/guidance/barring-referrals

barred list check

Which Roles Require a Barred List Check?

To determine if a job role necessitates a Barred List check, the employer or organisation must first decide whether it qualifies for one. A Barred List check can be requested alongside an Enhanced DBS Check.

Any individual involved in a regulated activity requires an Enhanced DBS Check and a Barred List check. A Regulated Activity, defined by the DBS, typically involves direct, unsupervised contact with children on a frequent basis (more than three times in a thirty-day period).

The nature of the work often serves as an indicator of whether a Barred List check is necessary. For instance, roles in schools, children’s homes, or nurseries are highly likely to qualify as Regulated Activities. Similarly, providing healthcare or personal care to Vulnerable Adults falls under Regulated Activity. Some examples of roles that will require a barred list check are below.

  • Teaching and healthcare for children
  • Childminding and foster care
  • Providing healthcare to adults
  • Social work
  • Assisting with money and bills due to illness, age or disability
  • Transport due to illness, age or disability

What Offences can put you on the Barred List?

We have written a separate article that explains what offences can put you on the Barred List, this can be read here. DBS Barred List Offences – What You Need To Know.

How to Request a Barred List Check

If you’re an employer recruiting individuals for regulated activity positions, you must request an Enhanced DBS Check with a Barred List check. Failing to do so and hiring someone on the Barred List is a legal violation that can lead to prosecution. Similarly, if a person listed on the Barred List knowingly applies for a Regulated Activity role, they are breaking the law.

What Is an ‘Adult First Check’?

An “Adult First Check” is a special type of Barred List check that the DBS can conduct upon request. It allows employers to get individuals started in a Regulated Activity role before completing the full Enhanced DBS Check.

With an Adult First check, employers can request a Barred List check on the applicant and quickly receive a summary of the information contained on the DBS certificate, before the actual certificate arrives.

If this summary is clear, the individual can begin work in the Regulated Activity role, but must be supervised at all times until the employer has seen the full DBS Certificate, which will arrive later – the same as with any other Enhanced check.

Adult First checks cannot be used for roles that require a check of the Children’s Barred List – only the Adult’s.

Barred List checks


In summary, the Barred Lists are a record of individuals not allowed to work with children and/or Vulnerable Adults, due to past criminal activities or behaviour. Conducting a Barred List check involves submitting an applicant’s details to the DBS, which cross-references them against the up-to-date list of barred individuals.

There are two Barred Lists: one for adults and one for children. It’s a legal requirement to carry out a Barred List check for roles classified as Regulated Activities.

Our range of DBS checks caters to diverse industries and job roles, ensuring that you can find the correct level of check to protect the people in your care. Whether you’re looking for a Basic check or an Enhanced check with Barred Lists, we’re here to assist you in creating a safer and more secure workplace for everyone involved. To find out more, call us on 0113 877 0171 or email contact@aaronsdepartment.com, or you can register for free below or book a demonstration today.

Further Reading

If you have found our article on the Barred Lists useful, here is a list of further articles you may find informative.

Top 5 DBS Check Misconceptions

Is There A DBS Expiry Date?

DBS Checks For Employers

DBS Prices, How Much Does A DBS Cost

About The Author

Kellie Dawson

Kellie Dawson

Kellie is our in-house legal expert when it comes to DBS checks. With a background in the legal sector, she has become a recognised authority in this area.

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