When applying for a DBS check, it isn’t as simple as sending out an application. The first step is to establish if those you are putting forward for such a check are eligible for one. In essence, this means that DBS checks are only a requirement if staff are involved in regulated activity. Here we take a look at what such activity actually means.


Certain roles that involve both children and vulnerable adults require the activity to be regulated in the form of either a basic DBS check or an enhanced one; the latter is the UK’s principal criminal record check, including any convictions – spent and unspent – alongside cautions, warnings and reprimands. As well as a DBS check, those involved in regulated activity with either children or vulnerable adults or both will also need to undergo barred check lists, of which there are two. It’s worth mentioning that regulated activity for children and vulnerable adults are different. The differences are explained below.


The two main categories of regulated activity for children are activities and places of work. In essence, this is anyone who teaches, trains, instructs, coaches, cares for or supervises children. This is also extended to those who work in certain establishments, which include schools, children’s homes and nurseries. For those who work in such institutions on a periodic basis – i.e. more than three times over a period of 30 days – DBS eligibility is based on frequency of work by, for example, contractors or photographers.

Vulnerable Adults

Regulated activity for those working in a paid or voluntary role with vulnerable adults consists of the following :

•       The provision of personal care;
•       The provision of healthcare;
•       The provision of social work;
•       Assisting with an individual’s affairs;
•       Assisting with household issues;
•       Those who work in a place that provides care or social work.

The basic DBS checks can be arranged at Carecheck; further information on eligibility for both children and adults is available online.

The main issue when classifying a role as regulated activity with vulnerable adults and/or requiring a basic DBS check is the type and the level of contact that is being undertaken.

In Summary

•       Those entitled to an enhanced DBS are involved in activities considered to be regulated;
•       Definitions of such activity are set out in legislation, as is the eligibility for checks.