Care Certificate

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Serious Organised Crime and police Act 2005

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UK Child Protection Measures: The Crucial Role of DBS Checks

The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 laid the foundation for the establishment of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. This Act also proposed enhancements to the screening system to prevent adults who pose a risk to children from gaining employment with them.

Evolution of DBS Checks

Historically, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was responsible for conducting criminal record checks, often referred to as CRB checks. This organisation has since merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), resulting in the renaming of CRB checks as DBS checks. During a DBS check, an individual's police records, including both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings, are reviewed.

Situations Necessitating a DBS Check

Organisations or employers may request a DBS check in situations such as:

  • Employing or accepting volunteers to work with young children or vulnerable adults.
  • Healthcare sector workers.
  • Individuals applying to foster or adopt a child.

Professions requiring DBS checks include healthcare professionals, carers, educators, and any regulated activity concerning children and adults under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. This encompasses regular care for, training, supervision or sole charge of vulnerable adults and children.

Initiating a DBS Check and Consequences

Employers should only initiate a DBS check after the applicant has been offered a job. The job offer can be rescinded if the check reveals the applicant's unsuitability.

Different Levels of DBS Checks

There are several levels of DBS checks: Basic, Standard, Enhanced and Enhanced with list checks. The level required depends on the nature of the job or voluntary work the individual will undertake.

The DBS Barred Lists

The DBS barred lists name individuals deemed unfit to work with adults or children in a paid or voluntary role, particularly in a caring, supervisory or solely responsible position. It is unlawful for an employer to hire someone on these lists for such roles.

The Importance of These Measures: A Notable Case Study

The tragic case of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman underscores the importance of these measures. In 2002, the two 10-year-old girls disappeared after leaving a family barbecue to buy some sweets. The school caretaker Ian Huntley and the girls' primary school teaching assistant Maxine Carr were subsequently arrested. Between 1995 and 1999, Huntley had faced 11 separate allegations, including four for rape and one for indecent assault on an 11-year-old girl. The Bichard Inquiry was launched in 2004 in response to this case, leading to a thorough review of the vetting procedures and barring schemes for those working with children.