Carer sat with two elderly people

DBS Adult First (ISA/POVA)

DBS Adult First (ISA/POVA) checks for care sector roles - eligibility, process, and fees for ensuring safe recruitment practices.

What is an Adult First Check?

The DBS Adults Barred List is a list of people who are barred from working in a regulated activity with vulnerable adults. The list is determined by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS Adult First Check (formerly ISA/POVA) checks the adults barred list whilst a full enhanced criminal record check is in progress. If the result is clear, the applicant can then start supervised work while waiting for their enhanced check to come back. As a result it is becoming a valuable tool to employers.

Who can have an Adult First Check?

Adult First checks are requested almost exclusively within the care sector, although they can be requested in relation to any ongoing Enhanced DBS check where the applicant will be undertaking regulated activity with adults. Care providers often utilise the Adult First check when they urgently need to get a care worker started in the role and the Enhanced DBS check is still ongoing.

Can I order an Adult First Check separately to a DBS check?

Employers can only apply for an Adult First Check as part of an enhanced DBS check. There are currently no facilities to order one separately to a DBS check.

What does it mean if the Adult First Check comes back unclear?

If the Adult First Check result states ‘Please wait for the DBS certificate before making a recruitment decision regarding this applicant’, the applicant is not allowed to start work until the full DBS check is completed. Please note, this result does not necessarily mean the person is on the adult’s barred list. It could mean for example that:

  1. A person with a similar name or date of birth is a match on the list, or
  2. There is some type of conviction information which would need to be seen by the employer. This would allow them to make a more informed recruitment decision.

Is the Adult First Check the same as a DBS check?

The Adult First check is not a full criminal record check. It just checks whether a person could potentially be on the adults barred list.

How much is an Adult First Check from APCS?

The cost of an Adult First check is £10.80 (inc. VAT). The includes the DBS fee of £6.00 and the APCS admin fee of £4.80.

When will I receive the results?

The results are often issued within 24 hours, but can take up to a maximum of 72 hours to come back.

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