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Clive – A potentially ineligible criminal record check led to the DBS considering barring me from working with children and vulnerable adults

Clive contacted our helpline for some advice after he’d received a letter from the Disclosure and Barring Service stating that they were considering putting him on one or both barred lists. The DBS believed that he was going to be working in regulated activity and, due to his previous conviction, needed to carry out an investigation.

Clive explained that he’d been convicted of a serious offence in the early 1990’s for which he’d served a prison sentence. This had never caused him any problems in the past and he had been working successfully for a non-profit organisation for many years.

It appeared that the barring letter from the DBS had arisen after Clive had applied to study for a short course at university. Although this was a counselling course, Clive had chosen to study it to expand his workplace knowledge and had no intention of working directly with children or vulnerable adults. Clive was extremely concerned that if he were to be placed on either barred list, this could impact negatively on both his employment and the reputation of the organisation he worked for.

We explained to Clive that the DBS barring letter had come about as a result of the university applying for an enhanced DBS check. Having reviewed the course contents, we were of the opinion that the enhanced check was ineligible as the course was based purely on theory and involved no placements. We recommended to Clive that he make representation to the DBS and to assist him with this, we set out the details of what he needed to cover in his letter. This included:

  • An explanation of his job role, making it very clear that he did not work in any type of regulated activity.
  • His belief that the enhanced DBS check had been ineligible and that without the check having been undertaken, the ‘minded to bar’ process would not have started.
  • An explanation of his offending behaviour and the circumstances surrounding it.
  • Details of what he’d been doing since he’d received his conviction, for example details about work, further study, family relationships etc.

We also advised Clive to provide the DBS with references, both personal and work related.

Clive submitted his representation to the DBS along with letters of support from several well respected individuals. A couple of months later, Clive received confirmation from the DBS that they would not be placing him on either the adult or children’s barred list.



When considering placing somebody on the barred list, the DBS will carefully review all the evidence put before them. As Clive’s case demonstrates where there is no good reason to bar somebody, then the DBS won’t. However, all the time the investigation is being carried out, individuals will quite rightly be extremely anxious about the result especially as in this case, the investigation arose from an ineligible check.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s case work.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.


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