Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Disclosure and Barring Service is a government agency set up under the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Safeguarding of Freedoms Act 2012. The DBS holds the database of all those people who work with children and vulnerable adults and determine whether they are suitable.

The scheme involves all bowlers who work with children and vulnerable adults on a regular basis as Bowls is treated as a Regulated Activity (Definition).

The new legislation "Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006" was to be phased in section by section from Autumn, 2009. From 12 October 2009 there would be no "Standard" checks for people working with children or vulnerable adults. All clearances would be at "Enhanced".

The current scheme of CRB clearances through BCGBA will continue as at present requiring a clearance at Enhanced Level to comply with the current legislation.

Following a review of the legislation by Roger Singleton ("Drawing the Line") further guidance was provided in December 2009 which the government has accepted and agreed to put into practice. This "relaxed" the criteria which people had to meet to need a CRB check. The "Singleton" criteria are detailed under Regulated Activity Definitions.

Protection of Freedoms Act

In June 2010 the new government announced an independent review of children’s social work and frontline child protection practice. As a result the National Safeguarding Delivery Unit under Sir Roger Singleton was disbanded.

On 15 June 2010 the present government announced that the registration with the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) would be halted in order allow a review to remodel the scheme back to proportionate, "common sense levels".

However, the new safeguarding regulations introduced in October 2009 continue to apply and any person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law if they or volunteer, or try to volunteer with these groups. An organisation which knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law. Additionally there is a legal responsibility on any organisation who "dismisses" a member of staff or volunteer because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult to report the fact to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

A formal review of the CRB was announced in October 2010. The Home Secretary declared that the government wanted to ensure that whilst the protection of children and vulnerable adults must be paramount, arrangements are proportionate and support a trusting, caring society where well meaning people are encouraged rather than deterred.

Amongst the recommendations of part of the review were that the DBS clearances will only be carried out for those who have intensive contact with children and provisions to make DBSs Transferable (Portable) for people carrying out similar roles for different "employers". On the same date, details were released of the recommendations of the review of the Vetting and Barring Scheme, amongst which was the proposed merger of the VBS and ISA with new responsibilities.

The Protection of Freedoms Act was enacted during 2012 and contains some of review recommendations and implementation will occur sometime from November 2012 onwards.

The Protection of Freedoms Act contains provisions that relate to the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) and the Criminal Records Regime include (CRR):

Under the Protection of Freedoms Act also the services of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) were being merged.The new organisation will provide a barring and criminal records disclosure service and will be called the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The government is expected to refine and continue to give guidance on the extent of "regulated activity" as it seeks to reduce the number of posts which will necessitate a DBS Clearance, specifically aimed at reducing the numbers needed by not requiring "supervised" positions to have a DBS Clearance (while still giving the club or organisation the right to still require supervised positions to undertake a DBS, the club having undertaken risk assessments as to their need).

As clarification of the recommendations regarding CRBs and the new BDS and its impact on sport is known revised guidelines for those in the Family of Bowls will be issued on this web-site. Until then the advice from the bodies providing the "umbrella' administration for DBS clearances is to continue as at present, applying the "Singleton" criteria in relation to regulated activity.

Given that the majority of people requiring DBS clearance at Enhanced Level have intensive contact with children and /or vulnerable adults, at this present moment in time there is expected to be little impact on those in the Family of Bowls.

Forms and Procedures

You can obtain more information to find out if you need a DBS Clearance and how to obtain one on the Disclsure and Barring Service Clearance page.

Applications should only be made for those persons who actually need a DBS clearance, not those who only think they might need one. Clarification can be sought on whether your rôle needs one can be obtained from either TMG or one of the members of the Assocation of Bowling Codes Safeguarding Panel.

Details of the DBS Application Prodedure can be found under the Application Procedure.

Those seeking a clearance for Crown Green should contact Mr Paul Ashmore who will arrange for a form to be send and can provide information as to who can verify documentation.

Bowls England and EIBA Ltd use TMG as their preferred DBS clearance supplier.

Federation and Short Mat Codes use the auspices of BCGBA as their umbrella body as does the English Bowls Coaches Society (EBCS). Documents can either be verified by a recognised (by BCGBA) verifier, or one recognised by the respective code, or by the Association of Bowling Codes Safeguarding Panel.

Details of how to find out if there is a verifier in your area by clicking here.


You can obtain the current Government's advice on DBS Guidance here or more simply click here.

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