Many thanks. I need information about the way the new Disclosure and Barring Service is operating, and to know whether there are concerns in the legal profession about this. A friend of mine who's one and only offence was over 40 years ago has recently received a harsh judgement from them, appealed it, lost the appeal and wants to consider judicial review. Is the DBS acting in a way that is driving many people to consider this - and how would my friend go about it. Because he is distressed by his experience with the DBS, which has had material and reputational consequences for him, a group of us are proving support to him - my task is to find out about the DBS, and the possibility of judicial review. i look forward to hearing from you. thanks. XXXXX
Dear Ms Watts. Thanks. I was as interested in what lawyers are saying about the DBS as in the prospect judicial review. i take your point that lawyers don't hear about every aspect, but surely there is some information going around about the way its works. It seems to me to have an entirely misconceived understanding of risk assessment ( I have academic/probation background and know a thing or two about risk assessment) but i'm not sure that comes under the point of law that a judge might take into account - it seems to be designed-in to the way the DBS works, and putside of what might be considered in an individual case. But i'm not sure what the outcomes are for other people, or whether my friend's case is unique. Somehow, i doubt it, if it does risk assessment in the way it did it with him. A very short, tokenistic custodial sentence for a consenting homosexual offence - between a 17 year old and a 25 year old, before the age of homosexual consent was lowered, over 40 years ago - and a successful and crime-free life ever since - cannot possibly generate a high-risk score, and should not have been the basis of my friend's employer of 14 years being told/advised he could no longer employ him. The employer knew of the offence, as most people who have known my friend do, but simply fears adverse publicity if he continues to employ him. (This took place when the Jimmy Saville scandal was at its height) The DBS's own annual report is not helpful in trying to understand how they do risk assessment. The organisation is too new to have had academic research done on it - and seems to operate differently to the CRB and Safeguarding authority that it replaced. Is there a legal firm or organisation you can put me in touch with who knows about this area of work?
Thanks. Actually, in this instance the DBS did more than just provide information to the employer, which i was thinking was normal behaviour on their part. You have got me thinking about that. The information about the original offence is factually accurate - the employer knew that anyway - it's the suggestion that my friend still posed a risk after all these years that is contentious - it depends on the validity of the risk assessment method being used by the DBS. Lets leave it at that for now. Thanks for your help