DBS Conference 2020 review

March 13th, 2020 by Jonathan Bazely

DBS Conference 2020

1st Annual DBS Conference 2020

The Team at DDC attended the first annual conference held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) at the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool, on Thursday 12th March. The new DBS Chief Executive, Eric Robinson, opened the conference with some clear aims and a positive message for the future of the DBS. Below are some of the key questions raised and answered as part of the workshops, presentations and Q&A sessions.

Why is safeguarding important?

The opening sessions provided some real insight into the role of the Disclosure and Barring Service and why safeguarding is such an important part of the recruitment process, from the initial DBS check, though to the ongoing monitoring and reporting back of any concerns. Some of the speakers provided powerful insight into the abuse they suffered and what the aim of the safeguarding industry should be, to both empower the survivors to come forward and to never repeat the mistakes of the past.

What can employers/recruiters do to help make recruitment safer?

The DBS acknowledged that they cannot achieve their aims on their own and need employers, employees and Umbrella Bodies to help in the protection of those most vulnerable in society. The opening remarks identified some common elements in historical abuse trials and where the safeguarding processes and policies had failed to provide suitable cover. These were presented by lawyers advising on high profile safeguarding cases throughout the UK. The insight again proved invaluable and highlighted that those wishing to cause harm can come from any background and there is no such thing as a ‘typical offender’.

What roles do organisations have to play in safeguarding?

Common themes emerged to help organisations set out their strategy and improve working practices. This included the culture within an organisation, promoting moral leadership and accountability of managers. Historical case review really highlighted the roles that employers should seek, to make ‘speaking out’ an option for any staff members with clear lines and channels of communication.

Challenging employers to make a positive change

Many of the speakers challenged those in attendance to make a positive change within their work place or industry and to think about the importance of their role of safeguarding the most vulnerable. A common question asked during the Q&A sessions related to data protection and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The consistent guidance was that GDPR should never override the reporting of a concern for a child or vulnerable adult’s health and wellbeing.

Another theme centred around the frustration relating to other pre-employment checks that can be run in addition to a DBS check, and how effective these are. The viewpoints ranged from those mindful of providing an honest reference if the information may be construed as negative, and those wanting to assist staff member to move on so not providing any negative information that may prevent that.

DDC review by Jonathan Bazely, Director:

It was great to attend the 1st conference and I hope this continues for the foreseeable future. Many thanks to the effort that went into the day, from the presenters in attendance, those running the workshops and the DBS team for putting on the event. It was great to speak with, and learn from colleagues within the safeguarding industry. As an Umbrella Body we provide a service to clients and I feel it is really important to go out and meet those using DBS and other pre-employment checks, to see how we can help further, and why we drive the highest standards possible.

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