If you are applying for a standard or enhanced criminal record check through the Disclosure and Barring service, a key part of the form is being asked to select the “workforce type” which is relevant to your situation. There’s a lot of confusion over what this all means, so read on for our simple guide to the rules.


Three Workforce Groupings

There are three possibilities for workforce type when referring to the DBS certificate. These are:

  • Child
  • Adult
  • Other

You must select the right group before submitting your application, and the system will not allow you to submit without making a selection.


Child Workforce

The first main group is for Child Workforce, and as the name suggests this covers many – but not all – roles working with children. Standard or enhanced checks for a child workforce group can only be carried out for someone carrying out regulated activity with children. This is defined as roles including supervising, teaching or caring for children and covers jobs like being a school bus driver, a teacher or worker in a nursery. It wouldn’t cover someone working in a children’s clothes shop or making sandwiches in a soft play centre as they are not directly supervising children. It would however cover contractors who are working in a school temporarily, and even adults living in a house with a family member who is a child minder.


Adult Workforce

The adult workforce group covers people who are providing similar care or assistance to adults who are vulnerable. There is no one definition of “vulnerable”, but it usually covers adults who have disabilities, or who are elderly. People who are working with this group to provide care, social work or who help with managing budgets and paying bills all fall into the adult workforce group. Anyone who is a patient in hospital is considered vulnerable, meaning all hospital workers are part of the adult workforce.


Both Groups

Many roles fall into both the child and adult groups, and many workers will therefore tick both boxes on the DBS form. A doctor or nurse is unlikely to treat exclusively adults or children and therefore most people who work in healthcare are accredited in both groups. If you have any doubts about which group your job category falls into, then seek advice from your employer as it is their responsibility to make sure that you have your DBS check under the correct job group type.


The ”Other” Workforce

The final option for workforce takes account of specific groups which require a DBS check, but which may not be carrying out any regulated activity in working closely with children or adults. Some of the jobs which fall into the “other” category are people who are applying for a gambling licence, taxi drivers, or those applying for official government positions.

There is full guidance on workforce types on the government website and if you are still unsure, check with your employer or contact the DBS helpline for expert advice.