We have been processing DBS checks for 20 years! You may be familiar with what it takes to process a DBS check, and how Total Screening can help, but do you know about the history of criminal record checks? Let’s find out more about this unique government department.

DBS or Disclosure and Barring Service was formerly known as CRB or Criminal Records Bureau. DBS checks in the UK have evolved over several decades to safeguard vulnerable groups within society. Here’s a brief history:

  • Pre-1974: Local police forces in the UK handled criminal record checks independently, but this sometimes led to inconsistencies and varying standards across the process.
  • 1974: The Police Act established the Police National Computer (PNC), which centralised criminal records, allowing police forces to share information electronically making it more accurate, easier and quicker.
  • 1997: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was established. Following the Police Act 1997, CRB centralised the process of criminal record checks for those working with vulnerable groups (e.g., children, elderly, disabled). This was in response to increasing concerns about safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
  • 2002: Implementation of the CRB. The Protection of Children Act expanded CRB checks to cover more roles working with children and vulnerable adults. With the CRB now implemented, it provided employers with a reliable way to check the criminal records of individuals applying for certain positions, particularly those involving work with vulnerable groups.
  • 2006: The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act created a vetting and barring scheme, aiming to prevent unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable groups. This led to the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) being established in 2009.
  • 2012: The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 brought significant changes, including the merger of the CRB and the ISA to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This move aimed to streamline the safeguarding process helping organisations to make safer recruitment decisions.
  • 2013: The launch of DBS. The DBS officially began operations in December 2012, taking over the functions of the CRB and ISA.
  • Present: The DBS continues to conduct checks on behalf organisations, providing different levels of disclosure, basic, standard, enhanced. This continues to ensure vulnerable groups are safeguarded as they should be. Don’t forget, Total Screening can help you begin your DBS journey today! Contact our support team who will guide you through the process.