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DBS Adult First

A DBS Adult First check – formally known as the ISA – is provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service and can be used in cases where, exceptionally, and in accordance with the terms of Department of Health guidance, a person is permitted to start work with adults before a DBS Certificate has been obtained. This applies to adult services such as care homes, domiciliary care agencies and adult placement schemes where DBS Certificates are required by law.

The DBS Adult first service is only available to organisations who are eligible to access the DBS’s Adult barred list and who have requested a check of the barred lists on their DBS application form. DBS Adult First is not a substitute for a DBS Certificate and providers must take care when making recruitment decisions prior to receiving a full DBS Certificate. DBS Adult First checks should be used only in exceptional circumstances and when absolutely necessary.

A DBS Adult First check is not appropriate where a person intends to work with both children and adults. Those working with both groups will need to wait for the DBS Certificate to be returned to find out whether a person is barred from working with children. There is no equivalent quick check of the children’s barred list.

What the DBS Adult First check contains:

There are two possible outcomes from the DBS Adult First check;

‘No match exists for this person on the DBS Adults Barred List’

When the employer receives the above notification, this means the applicant can start work in a supervised working condition until the full Enhanced Disclosure is issued.


‘Please wait for the DBS Certificate before making a recruitment decision regarding this applicant’

In this case, the applicant would not be able to work on a supervised basis and would have to wait until the full Enhanced Disclosure has been issued. No details are given at this stage as to why the applicant received the above result for the DBS Adult First and this does not mean the applicant is necessarily barred. It could mean for an example that:

A person with a similar name or date of birth shows a match on the barred list or that there may be a criminal conviction which would need to be disclosed to the employer in order for them to make a more informed recruitment decision.

To apply for a DBS Adult First check, this can be requested via the uCheck when applying for the Enhanced Disclosure at an additional cost of £9 inc VAT. The DBS Adult First check is usually returned within 72 hours.

If you would like more information regarding the DBS Adult First check, call one of uCheck’s friendly team on 0300 140 0022.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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