Sometimes, dealing with the government appears to be a never-ending list of abbreviations and acronyms. If you’re confused about all these letters and what they might mean, read on for a simple guide.


One of the most acronyms is DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service. This is the government and Police organisation in England and Wales which administers the checking process. You will often see phrases such as “subject to DBS checking” on job adverts, and people and employers will talk about “getting a DBS check done”.


The Criminal Records Bureau, or CRB, was the name of the organisation which carried out Police checks before the DBS. DBS took over from CRB in 2012, but although the change happened five years ago, name people still refer to CRB checks and this terminology is also still used online and by employers.


The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was merged with the Criminal Records Bureau in 2012 to form the Disclosure and Barring Service, but you will still find the old terminology used in some documents and online.


The ROA is the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974). This is the piece of legislation which details how long convictions stay on your record before they can be considered “spent”. Depending on the type of disclosure check being done, spent convictions may or may not be listed. Detailed information about what will show on a DBS check is available online.


The Crown Prosecution Service is a division of the legal sector in the UK which looks at the evidence Police have in connection with a crime and decide whether it is strong enough to proceed to a prosecution in court. Information held by Police and submitted to CPS might appear on some of the more detailed DBS checks.


POVA is the Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme, which is a list held of people convicted of offences against vulnerable adults. People who are named on this list are banned from working with vulnerable adults in the future, and their inclusion on the POVA list will bar them from this sort of work in the future.


In Scotland, the checking system works differently to England and Wales. PVG is Protecting Vulnerable Groups and refers to the checks carried out on those working with children or vulnerable adults. Workers will often talk about having a PVG check carried out, or a “PVG form”.


In Northern Ireland, it’s AccessNI which looks after police checking for people working with children or vulnerable adults. AccessNI is part of the Department of Justice, which is sometimes called the DOJ or DoJ for short.


CQC is the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator for health and social care in England and Wales. CQC sets policies for people applying for health and social care rules, and require that managers or nursing homes or care services have a DBS check carried out.


A fit and proper persons requirement (FPPR) is similar to DBS checking but refers to checks into the financial and character background of people running businesses or in a position of responsibility.