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Omar – Being told that I might be placed on a DBS barred list made me relive my conviction 24 years later

Omar contacted our helpline for some information and advice following receipt of a letter from the DBS stating that they were considering adding him to the adult and/or children’s barred list.

Omar explained that in the late 1990’s when he was aged 14 he had been convicted of sexual activity in a public place. He went on to say that this had been consensual with his same-sex partner who was 11 months older than him. He was aware that at that time several of his friends had been convicted of similar offences and it had always felt as though the charges were being used to persecute gay and bisexual men.

Omar told the helpline advisor that since that one conviction, he had never been in trouble and was well respected by his family, friends and work colleagues. He had recently applied for a new job working in an administrative role in a children’s hospital and although he wouldn’t be working in regulated activity, his new employers had applied for an enhanced DBS check which he understood they were allowed to do.

He was confused, concerned and upset to learn that the DBS were considering adding him to one of the barred lists and stated:

“The letter from the DBS made me relive something that happened 24 years ago and I feel just as I did then that I’m being persecuted for being a gay man.

The helpline advisor explained that applications for enhanced checks can often lead the DBS to consider whether, due to a previous conviction, an individual should be included on one (or both) barred lists. However, before the DBS could include someone on a list, they had to establish that the individual has been, or might in the future be, engaged in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.

The advisor went on to say that if Omar did nothing then the DBS would automatically add him to the barred list and it was important therefore that he submit his representation to them. She provided him with a link to Unlock’s information on making representation and highlighted some of the things that Omar should include, namely:

  • That his conviction was 24 years ago and the fact that he has had a completely clean record since then.
  • Details of his career to date and if possible, a professional reference.
  • Although his job would be based in a children’s hospital, he would not be working in regulated activity and has no intention of doing so in the future.
  • That he poses no current or future risk to children or vulnerable adults.

We contacted Omar 3 months later for an update and he told us:

“I got a response form the DBS following the formal representation I made. They’ve told me that no further action will be taken and that they’re happy for me to work in regulated activity if I wish to do so. Thanks Unlock for all the help and support you’ve given me over the last few months”.



As our helpline advisor explained to Omar, the DBS will often send individuals a ‘minded to bar’ letter following receipt of an application for an enhanced DBS check. Although this can often be seen as a standard administrative process, if you don’t make representation you may find that the DBS will automatically add you to one (or both) barred lists meaning that you can’t apply for or work in regulated activity for the foreseeable future.



Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

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

Published March 2021.


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