Modernising the Disclosure and Barring Service: Have your say

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are launching an inquiry into the delayed changes to modernise the Disclosure and Barring Service. Launched on 8 March, we have only been given until 13 March to respond.

In 2009, the Home Office launched a transformation programme to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of safeguarding services.

In 2012, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was set up (created form a merger of Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority). At this time, the Home Office sought to further modernise the system, to reduce costs and increase efficiency for organisations carrying out DBS checks. This included:

  • launching the ‘update service’, allowing employers to check whether there are any changes to the safeguarding information on an individual’s certificate, for example a change in barred list status or new information contained in police records since the existing disclosure was issued; and
  • contracting with an external provider to design, build and run a new, modern, IT system for the provision of disclosure and barring services. The contract was awarded to Tata Consultancy Services Limited (Tata) in October 2012.

Delays and questions over costs

A National Audit Office (NAO) report has found that the aims of this modernisation have not been met and the project has faced significant delays and additional costs.

Demand for the update service has been much lower than expected and has not delivered the savings intended. The modernisation of IT services has been consistently delayed.

Following the NAO report, on Monday 19 March the PAC will hold an evidence session on the Disclosure and Barring Service. The session will examine:

  • delays in the modernisation of the programme
  • why the programme is so late and over budget
  • what safeguarding benefits will be delivered and by when

Have your say

The PAC has a wealth of evidence to consider in the NAO report. We think the late running of the modernisation programme may have also had an impact on voluntary sector organisations. We are keen to make sure these issues are also available for the PAC to consider.

We’ll be putting together a submission to forward to the inquiry. We’re particularly keen to hear about examples where the programme delays may have impacted your organisation (for example, delays to volunteers checks, unable to access systems, the update service not meeting your requirements).

To be included, please tell us your thoughts by emailing by 4pm on Monday 12 March 2018. Alternatively, you can submit your response to the inquiry.

If you are considering making a submission, please read this guidance from

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Shaun is volunteering development manager at NCVO, overseeing strategy for volunteer management and good practice. Previously, he was head of volunteering at Samaritans and is currently a volunteer trustee of Greater London Volunteering.

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