How Does Regulated Activity Relate to DBS Checks?

Many of us switch careers, progress, and take on different opportunities to grow and experience other things in our lifetime. Many career paths lead to working with vulnerable people, whether that tends to be children or vulnerable adults. If you’re looking into applying for a role that will involve working with vulnerable people and it requires a DBS check to take place, you’ve likely come across the term ‘regulated activity.’ But what is it, and how is it relevant when completing a DBS check?

What is Regulated Activity?

To put it simply, regulated activity is a term used to describe any work that someone barred from working with children or vulnerable people cannot do.

As a regulated activity denotes a strict line of work that certain people cannot do, they will often be requested along with a deep criminal record check for an applicant. In this case, an Enhanced DBS check is often requested to ensure that the applicant isn’t on the relevant barred lists before undertaking the role.

This check includes details of all criminal convictions on record, including spent and unspent convictionscautions, warnings and reprimands. Your local police force will also contribute, adding any extra relevant information as they see fit, and your details will also be checked on various government lists.

A basic DBS check can be requested for any job position or purpose and will be carried out if the individual provides their consent. This is different from standard or enhanced DBS checks, which can only be requested for very specific job roles that involve working with children or vulnerable people.

Regulated Activity with Children

When establishing whether a job involving working with children should be classed as regulated activity, it’s essential to consider both the specifics of the role and the setting in which it takes place. To be eligible to be classed as regulated activity, the position must involve any of the following:

  • Unsupervised teaching
  • Training
  • Instruction
  • Care
  • Supervision of children

The role must also be within specific settings, which include schools, nurseries, and children’s homes – among many others. If you’re unsure whether your position comes under a regulated activity setting, please ask your employer.

If the role and setting both fit the criteria of regulated activity with children, applicants will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check as long as the job meets the following criteria:

  • The role will be undertaken more than three times in any 30-day period
  • There could be contact with children within the establishment of the role
  • You would be working in that role for the purpose of the establishment
  • You would not be employed temporarily
  • Your role doesn’t involve being a supervised volunteer

How do these rules and regulations during an Enhanced DBS check change when the role involves working with adults instead of children?

Regulated Activity with Adults

In contrast to the checks necessary when working with children, regulated activity with adults focuses on the specific activities provided to a vulnerable adult and not the setting in which they take place.

Six categories define a regulated activity with adults:

  1. Personal care – if a role that you undertake involves providing personal care to a vulnerable adult, which can include feeding, washing and helping to use the toilet, the role will be classified as a regulated activity
  2. Healthcare – any role that involves providing healthcare to a vulnerable adult is a regulated activity. This includes essential tasks such as counselling, psychotherapy, and palliative care
  3. Social work – any job which involves providing social care to a vulnerable adult is classified as a regulated activity
  4. Conveying – if your role would involve conveying a vulnerable adult to or from their healthcare, personal care or social work appointments, then you would also be undertaking a regulated activity
  5. Assistance with personal affairs – if you have come to a formal agreement with a vulnerable adult that you will be responsible for helping them conduct their personal affairs, then you will be undertaking a regulated activity
  6. Assistance with household matters – similarly to the point above, if you assist a vulnerable person with tasks such as managing their money, paying their bills or shopping on their behalf, then you will be undertaking a regulated activity and will need to be checked accordingly

It’s important to know that the six categories above are only valid if the tasks are undertaken as part of a commercial role (either a paid job or a volunteering role). If you’re completing these tasks for a family member or neighbour, it’s deemed to be a personal situation, and a DBS check is therefore not valid. Also, anyone managing an individual who undertakes these roles would carry out a regulated activity, requiring them to complete an Enhanced DBS check as well.

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