Explaining DBS Workforce Types

When applying for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, several questions need to be answered accurately for the online application to be reviewed and accepted promptly; otherwise, the process will be delayed. A part of this process for both Standard and Enhanced DBS checks is to specify the workplace type that your role falls under.

Having plenty of experience processing DBS applications from across the UK, Online DBS Checks are often asked how a type of workplace can affect a DBS check’s progression. Therefore, we’ve created this guide to clear up any confusion.

What is a Workforce Type?

The DBS recognises three main types of workforce, specifically: Child, Adult and Other, and we’ll discuss these in more detail below.

Generally speaking, a “workforce type” in regards to the DBS check process refers to the group of people that you’ll be typically working with in the role. All Enhanced and Standard DBS checks must have a workforce type selected in order to be processed, which must also be applicable to the DBS check eligibility criteria.

This question is included so that any information that appears during your DBS check can be reviewed to see if it affects your suitability to work with certain types of vulnerable people.

So what roles would be included within the three aforementioned workforce types.

Child Workforce

If you’re going to be working in a role that involves interacting with children, this is the workforce option you need to select. This can range from jobs with minimal contact to those that involve engaging in a regulated activity, which is when you’re placed in a position of trust with children or when you control a vehicle that’s transporting them. Therefore, jobs that involve working with a child workforce include being a teacher, school bus driver and nursery assistant, just to name a few.

Adult Workforce

If your role involves interacting with vulnerable adults, you need to select this option when completing your DBS application form. Compared to jobs that include working with children, a regulated activity with vulnerable adults is a broader category.

Tasks that would fall under this workforce category include:

  • Providing care and assistance.
  • Managing someone's finances on their behalf.
  • Helping to transport vulnerable people to and from locations.

As you can probably imagine, this means that a wide variety of job roles fall under this category.

If you’re unsure whether you qualify or not, you should ask yourself whether you will be spending time alone with a vulnerable person whilst completing your duties. If the answer is yes, you need to choose this workforce type.

Other Workforce

Although many Standard and Enhanced check applications are made due to the applicant’s job involving interactions with either vulnerable adults or children, that isn’t always the case.

You may be required to apply for an Enhanced DBS check without involving any of the regulated activities mentioned above.

If you work in roles such as being a taxi driver or working for the Gambling Commission, you need to select the “other workforce” option when you apply for a DBS check.

What if both Child and Adult Workforce is applicable?

In certain sectors, a large percentage of regulated activities will involve interactions with a mixture of both children and vulnerable adults. This often leads to confusion about whether a candidate would fall into either the Child or Adult Workforce.

However, an option has been made available for applicants to choose a combined Child and Adult Workforce option, typically used for doctors and dentists.

It’s important to note that you should only select this option if your role requires a Barred List check to ensure that you’re not barred from working with both the children and adults that you’ll be working with.

If the regulated activity you’re performing only extends to one or the other, you should only select one workforce type.

Bear in mind, Barred List checks are tied into certain Enhanced DBS applications. You cannot apply for a Basic DBS check or Standard DBS check and a Barred List check at the same time.

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