SMW assist client to avoid inclusion on the Children’s Barred List
The Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 created two barred lists for those who are not permitted to work with children and vulnerable adults. Since 2012 the Disclosure and Barring Service (“DBS”) have maintained these lists.
It is a criminal offence for a person to work with children or vulnerable adults if they have been included in the relevant barred list. It is also an offence for an employer to hire someone to work in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults, who is included in the relevant barred list.
In order to make their decision the DBS considers information provided by the police or referrals from other agencies. Certain offences will automatically result in an individual being included and there will be no possibility of making representations for removal. In other cases the DBS will send a letter after they have received information about the offence and where they believe that the person may be working or intending to work in a regulated activity. The letter will notify the individual that the DBS are ‘minded to bar’ and they will be invited to make representations as to why they should not be added to a barred list.
If you receive a letter confirming you have been placed on the Children’s Barred List, it is important you contact us as soon as possible. This letter may come some time after the criminal matter you were involved with has concluded. The DBS will give you 8 weeks to respond to their notification letter and make your representations, although extensions of time can be requested. If you don’t make any representations then the DBS will make the decision based solely on the information it has been provided with. The representation can include medical evidence, expert reports and other material deemed relevant.
Inclusion on either list will last for life unless you appeal or seek a review.
You may seek a review of your inclusion at any time if;
– Your role does not meet the test for regulated activity (this does not apply for those who are barred following automatic barring offence without right to make representations)
– Any material change in circumstances affecting you since barring
– An error by the DBS
Outside of the above circumstances you may ask for the DBS to review your inclusion in either or both barred lists after a minimum period has elapsed. The minimum period will be included in the notification letter and are based on the age of the individual when barred;
Under 18 – 1 year
18-24 – 5 Years
25 and over – 10 years
The barred person must satisfy the DBS that their circumstances have changed. Evidence can be provided from the probation service, medical experts, character references etc.
Recent case study
We represented a client at the police station who was cautioned for an assault on her daughter, following an argument about how late her daughter had returned from meeting friends. While the caution was a good result, our client hoped to work with children and was extremely concerned about the intention of the DBS to place her on the Children’s Barred List. They had been provided evidence of the caution and that our client was intending to work with children – a ‘regulated activity’.
We prepared written representations on behalf of our client referring to the context of her offence, namely that it was an isolated incident and was deemed suitable for a caution at the police station. Other information concerned the minimal social services involvement that was required regarding the incident and positive reports regarding the relationship between mother and daughter following the incident. We contended that it would be highly unlikely that our client posed any future risk and that this was an isolated incident arising out of genuine concern about the time her daughter had returned home.
We noted that if our client was applying for jobs within education she would be subject to an enhanced DBS check where this caution would be disclosed. We argued that this presented a safe mechanism for prospective employers to know about her offending and that they could make a decision on whether to her employ her on that basis. Adding our client to the barred list would have prevented her from working in the area of work she had trained and hoped to continue working in, which would have also impacted her ability to provide for her children as a single mother.
Our client was very pleased to receive confirmation from the DBS that they were not going to include her on the barred list based on the information about the case and our representations.
If you have received a letter from the DBS about being added to one of the above lists or you would like to review your inclusion on either list please contact Chris Stevens at this office. As these matters can be time sensitive it is important you act quickly.