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DBS Adult First Check


DBS Adult First

Issued by

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)


DBS Adult First allows employers to check applicants against the DBS Adults’ Barred List. Dependant on the result of the check, this service allows an applicant to start work under supervision whilst waiting for their full DBS Certificate.

What it contains

An email will be sent to an employer giving 2 possible outcomes;

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

This means the applicant can start work in a supervised capacity until the full enhanced disclosure is produced.


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

In this case the applicant is not able to start straight away. No details are given at this stage as to why this response has been given, however, it does not necessarily mean that the person is barred. It could mean for example that:

  1. A person with a similar name or date of birth shows a match on the list or
  2. There is some criminal conviction information which would need to be seen by the employer in order for them to make a more informed recruitment decision.

How to apply

The DBS Adult First is part of the Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check and cannot be applied for separately. At the stage where the Enhanced DBS application form is sent off for processing, employers can apply for the DBS Adult First on an applicant’s behalf.

Who can apply for it?

The service is exclusive to those positions governed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and requests for the check must fulfil strict qualifying criteria and are permissible only where it is necessary to take such action because of a real danger of staffing levels falling below statutory obligations.

The DBS Adult First is a service that can be used in cases where, exceptionally, and in accordance with the terms of the 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 where DBS Certificates are required by law, such as;

  • Care homes
  • Domiciliary care agencies
  • Adult placement schemes



How long does it take

Approximately 72 hours

Where is it sent

To the employer via email

Other Information

A DBS Adult First check is not appropriate where a person intends to work with both children and adults. Those working with both groups would 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.




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Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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