Making A Referral


Referrals are made to the DBS when an employer or organisation has dismissed or permanently removed an individual from regulated activity, either because that person has caused harm to children or vulnerable adults, or poses a future risk of harm.

What is a referral?
A referral is information regarding an individual who is linked to children or vulnerable adults through regulated activity, and has or may harm these groups.

How to make a referral to the DBS
Organisations can make a referral via the DBS referral form, referrals are usually provided by employers or volunteer managers.

The form will need to be completed and signed before being sent off to the DBS, the referrer must also include all the information that is held about the individual and will be requested on the form.

As the DBS have no investigatory powers it is important that the referrer includes all the information they feel is relevant, the organisation is not however requ

ired to source information themselves that is not currently held by them.

Referrals can be emailed to the DBS however this is done so at the referrer’s own risk as the DBS cannot guarantee the security and confidentiality of an email in transit.

Employers, volunteer managers and personnel suppliers working in regulated activity in the UK and Northern Ireland all have a legal duty to refer to the DBS.

A referral must be made when both conditions for referral have been met:

  1. An individual’s permission to work in regulated activity with children and/or adults had been withdrawn, whether this be through dismissal or through moving into another area of work that is not regulated activity. This also includes cases where an individual has resigned or retired before they were to possibly be dismissed.
  2. It is believed that an individual has carried out the following:
  • Has been cautioned or convicted of a relevant automatic barring offence
  • Has engaged in an action against children and/or vulnerable adults such as neglect/harm or put them at risk of harm
  • Has not yet committed any relevant conduct but there is a risk of harm posed to the vulnerable groups.

A referral should not be made as soon as there is an allegation towards an individual, this should always be investigated by the organisation and sufficient evidence gathered no matter of the time period between.

An organisation should investigate the case fully and complete disciplinary procedures appropriately before referring as the DBS cannot investigate a case for the referrer.

If an individual is temporarily suspended pending an investigation but is invited back to their position working in regulated activity, there is no legal requirement to refer this to the DBS. 

A legal duty to refer an individual to the DBS still applies even if they have been referred to an alternative body such as local authorities.

See our infographic on how to make a referral here!