Adult First Checks: Everything You Need to Know

If you work in the care sector you may have heard of Adult First Checks. 

We get a lot of questions from our clients about who can have this type of check and when it should be used – so we’ve put together this blog to clear up the confusion.

Here’s everything you need to know about Adult First Checks. 

adult first checks

What are Adult First Checks?

 

DBS Adult First is a service provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

It involves a check of the adults’ barred list to find out whether the applicant has been barred from working with adults, before they’ve obtained a full DBS Check. 

An Adult First Check can be used to enable an employee to start work with adults, under supervision, without having to wait for the results of their DBS Check.

However, this type of check can only be used in exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with specific Department of Health guidelines.  

 

Who can have an Adult First Check?

 

Adult First Checks are exclusively available to people working in adult care services, where DBS certificates are required by law. 

The service is only available to organisations that are eligible to access the DBS adults’ barred list. This includes care homes, domiciliary care agencies and adult placement schemes.

It should only be used for prospective employees for whom an Enhanced Check with a check of the adults’ barred list has been requested – it cannot be requested separately. 

 

When should Adult First Checks be used?

 

Adult First Checks should only be used when absolutely necessary – for example, when staffing levels are in danger of falling below statutory obligations. 

Organisations should apply for the check at the same time as applying for the prospective employee’s DBS Check.

It’s important to remember that an Adult First Check is not a substitute for a DBS Check. Organisations should take due care when making recruitment decisions before receiving a full DBS certificate. 

 

What does an Adult First Check show?

 

An Adult First Check will issue one of three results:

    • No match exists for this person on the current adults’ barred list: In this case, the applicant has not been barred from working with adults, and can start work under supervision.
    • Registered Body must wait for the DBS certificate: In this case, the details provided may have indicated a match on the adults’ barred list. However, further investigation is required to confirm this, so the employer should wait for the full DBS Certificate before making a recruitment decision.
    • Certificate completed

 

 

The result will also clearly state that the Adult First Check only forms the first part of the criminal record check application process and that further information will follow.

 

Employees who work with both adults and children

 

Adult First Checks are not suitable for employees who will be working with both adults and children. 

There is no equivalent fast-track check of the children’s barred list. These employees will need to wait for their full DBS certificate before starting work. 

 

Adult First Checks: A summary

 

Adult First Checks can be invaluable in enabling employees to start work in the adult care sector before their DBS certificate has been issued.

However, they should only be used in specific circumstances and when there is a real need. 
We hope our blog has answered your questions. If you’d like any more information, check out the DBS’ guidance for employers, or drop us a line – we’re always happy to help.