DBS Referrals:

Within the safegaurding environment there is a need for all groups to assist the DBS to identify persons that may present a risk (or future risk) to vulnerable adults and children. For some groups there is a legal ‘duty to refer’.

Referrals should be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) when an employer or organisation believes a person has caused harm or poses a future risk of harm to vulnerable groups, including children.

To make a referral we recommend that you go to the DBS section of the homeoffice website. Here you will fund further guidance and downloadable copies of the forms needed to submit a referral. Included are several factsheets that may assist you in making the decision and outline the processes involved. It is very important the employers and providers of regulated work make detailed referrals to the DBS, to enable them to make a barring decision, as they do not have the ability to actively persue cases without information put forward by organisations or employers.

Under the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, 2006, the following groups have the power to make a referral to the DBS:

Duty to refer

  • Regulated activity suppliers (employers and volunteer managers)
  • Personnel suppliers

Power to refer

  • Local authorities (safeguarding role)
  • Education and library boards
  • Health and social care trusts
  • Keepers of registers e.g. General Medical Council
  • Supervisory authorities e.g. Care Quality Commission


  • An employer or volunteer manager is breaking the law if they knowingly employ someone in a regulated activity with a group from which they are barred from working
  • A barred person is breaking the law if they seek, offer or engage in regulated activity with a group from which they are barred from working, be it paid or voluntary

Referring a teacher in England to the Teaching Agency

If the person you are referring to the DBS is a teacher in England you should also consider referring the case to the Teaching Agency. The Teaching Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for Education, responsible for the regulation of teachers in respect of serious misconduct.

Find out more at the Teaching Agency’s website or contact it using the details below. For those employing teachers you may also wish to read the section of the homeoffice website relating to Teacher Status Checks.

Teaching regulation division, 53-55 Butts Road, Earlsdon Road, Earlsdon Park Coventry CV1 3BH

Telephone: 0370 496 8324 Email: regulation.division@education.gsi.gov.uk

Further Queries about Referrals and Barring

We advise that if you are not sure about any of the processes or require further information you contact the Disclosure and Barring Service directly:

  • By phone on 01325 953795
  • By email to dbsdispatch@dbs.gov.uk
  • Write to DBS, PO Box 3963, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 4HH

The DBS cannot guarantee the security of information until it is in their possession, and will not take responsibility for the confidentiality of such information until it is received by them. For this reason they recommend sending referrals and related information by registered post, however, queries and other items less than 10MB in size can be emailed to them via the email address above.

Referrals in Scotland (Disclosure Scotland)

For those looking to make a referral in Scotland, please visit the Disclosure Scotland website for further guidance.

Referrals in Northern Ireland (AccessNI)

For those looking for further information about making a barring referral in Northern Ireland please visit the AccessNI website for more information.