The primary role of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is to help employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. They are responsible for:
- processing requests for criminal records checks (in England and Wales)
- deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- placing or removing people from the DBS barred lists for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland, the checking and barring service is operated by Disclosure Scotland (DS).
Checks are requested by the employer and include information held by local police and centralised computer records. There is no time limit on how long the information can be held.