Why Was The DBS Introduced?

Why Was The DBS Introduced?

In 2012, the DBS was formed when the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) were merged.

But why is this the case, and where did the CRB and ISA originate anyway?

FAQ: Why was the DBS introduced?

Why Was The DBS IntroducedOrigins Of The DBS

In order to understand why the DBS was introduced, we must look into the origins of the CRB and the ISA.


The CRB was first conceived of in Part V of the Police Act 1997. It was established, and began work in 2002. It was set up because the UK’s police forces did not have the time or facilities to process the number of background checks required, so a specialist body was set up to oversee and streamline the process – the CRB.


The ISA was set up following an official inquiry into the 2002 Soham Murders, in which two schoolgirls were killed by a man employed as a caretaker at their school. Ian Kevin Huntley had dozens of sexual offence allegations and investigations against him (although at that point none had resulted in charges), as well as charges for burglary and indecent assault.

The inquiry determined that better background checks would be a good way to prevent dangerous individuals from working with vulnerable groups, and this was supported by a tabloid media campaign at the time.

The ISA came into being in 2006, then known as the Independent Barring Board – it was officially renamed to the ISA in 2009.

The ISA would maintain a list of individuals unsuitable to work with Children, and a list of those unsuitable for work involving Vulnerable Adults (at the time, a Vulnerable Adult was essentially defined as a person receiving care or healthcare, although it has since changed – click here for an up-to-date guide). These lists are now known as the Children’s Barred List and the Adults’ Barred List.

The Merge That Created The DBS

In 2012, the ISA and the CRB were merged, in order to streamline the background checking process and save the government money. The result was the Disclosure & Barring Service.

FAQ: Why was the DBS introduced?

Summary: Why Was The DBS Introduced?

To summarise the question, why was the DBS introduced, The DBS was introduced following a merge of two government bodies responsible for conducting criminal background checks. This merge was to simplify the checking process and save the government/taxpayer money.

Of the two agencies that preceded the DBS, the CRB was formed to shift the role of conducting background checks from the police forces, and the ISA was formed to maintain a list of individuals who shouldn’t be allowed to work with vulnerable groups.

Further Reading

If you found this article interesting, you might enjoy reading:

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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