Older People Living with Cancer

Peer advocates supporting older people affected by cancer

Some technical stuff: An explanation of the new definition of DBS Regulated Activity and our responsibilities.

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As you may be aware the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have amalgamated to become the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS). This change happened in 2012 and along with this change came an update on what constitutes regulated activity. Now based around 6 categories, any frequency (even a one-off occurrence) of support, under one of the following categories, now constitutes regulated activity relating to adults. The 6 categories include Healthcare of an adult, Personal care of an adult, Providing Social Work, Assistance with general household matters, Assistance in the conduct of a person’s own affairs (the activity under which advocacy fits) and finally Conveying. All of these carry a number of bullet points and a more in-depth look at them can be found on the DBS Factsheet by clicking here

Pre-September 2012 the definition of regulated activity included anyone working closely with children or vulnerable adults, either paid or unpaid on a frequent, intensive or overnight basis. Frequent meaning once a week or more (except in health or personal care services where frequent means once a month or more); intensive means on four days or more in a single month.


The new definition of regulated activity, relating to adults, no longer labels adults as ‘vulnerable’. Instead, the definition identifies the 6 activities which, if required, lead to that adult being considered vulnerable at that particular time. This means that the focus is on the activities required by the adult and not on the setting in which the activity is received, nor on the personal characteristics or circumstances of the adult receiving the activities. There is also no longer a requirement for a person to do the activities a certain number of times before they are engaging in regulated activity.

When to apply

An organisation that engages an individual, either paid or unpaid, to undertake any activity, within the 6 categories that constitute regulated activity, must check that individual against the barred list as well as undertaking a regular DBS check. Those providing day to day management /supervision of individuals engaged in regulated activity must also be checked against the barred list. Understanding this is essential as any organisation which knowingly allows a barred person to work in regulated activity will be breaking the law.

As a point of reference if, for a role, you would have applied for a CRB under the old system you can still do so however you can only check a person against the barred list if they fall within the new definition of regulated activity.

Another significant change is that a person under the age of 16 can no longer apply for a check.

Click here for further essential reading

Angela Clarkson (Sefton Pensioners’ Advocacy Centre)


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