Disclosure & Barring Service facts and figures

Written 29th April 2024 by Nathalie Potter

Between April 2022 and March 2023, the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) issued over 7.5 million DBS certificates. 4.5 million of these certificates were for Enhanced DBS checks. 

In this blog, Olliers’ Head of DBS Nathalie Potter examines statistics relating to ‘minded to bar’ letters and disclosure of information on an enhanced DBS Check.

Inclusion on the Children’s and Vulnerable Adult’s Barred Lists

The Disclosure and Barring Service hold a list of individuals who cannot engage in ‘regulated activity’ i.e. are banned from working with children and/or adults. If the DBS write to you indicating they are considering placing you on either barred list it is imperative that you seek specialist legal advice.

There are two barred lists:

  • The children’s barred list
  • The adult’s barred list

As of March 2023, 88,700 people were retained on one or both barred lists. 6,266 people were added during the year 2023 (compared to 5,952 people added the previous year and 4,300 in 2020-21). 

2023/4 averages regarding Minded to Bar letters 

305 Minded to Bar letters sent out per month – but there were 400 sent out in February 2024!

Only 41% of people chose to respond to their Minded to Bar letters.

Of the people that responded as many as 58% were barred – only 42% of people succeeded. 

Olliers have a barring success rate of 75%. 

The longest period from the DBS sending out their Initial Important Information letter to sending out their Minded to Bar letter was 217 days. 

Appeals and Reviews of inclusion on the Children’s and Vulnerable Adult’s Barred List

If an individual is included on either or both of the barred lists and wishes to be removed, an application for permission to appeal is lodged to the ‘Upper Tribunal’ (Administrative Appeals Chamber). Initially permission for appeal needs to be applied for and only if permission is granted will an actual appeal be heard. 

There is no automatic right of appeal and appeals can only be lodged with the Upper Tribunal on the grounds that the DBS has made a mistake:

  • on a point of law; or
  • on a finding of fact made by the DBS on which the decision to bar was based.

Between April 2022 and March 2023, the DBS received 327 applications for permission to appeal against barring. 

Of those 327 appeals lodged, the DBS removed 25 people due to:

  • Paragraph 18A requests; 
  • DBS not being able to defend their position;
  • or, as a result of substantive appeals at the Upper Tribunal. 

To date, there are 420 appeals that have not yet concluded and these individuals remain on the barred list.  

Olliers have an appeal success rate of 66%. 

DBS Certificate Disputes

The Chief Police Officer of the relevant police force may disclose non conviction information they deem appropriate such as police intelligence or approved information on an Enhanced DBS Check. This could include matters for which you have been NFA’d (no further actioned) which may significantly impact a job application.  

In September 2023 the DBS received as many as 245 certificate disputes. On average in 2023, the DBS approved only 33% of applications to dispute information previously disclosed on a DBS certificate. 

Olliers have a certificate dispute success rate of 46%. 

Olliers experience and expertise in DBS matters

Olliers’ DBS department has been in existence since 2016. Nathalie Potter heads the department which has grown from a single fee earner department to a very successful team of six. 

Our estimated rate of success is provided on a case-by-case basis as every case is so different. We have represented teachers accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with children, to carers accused of neglect, abuse and sleeping on shift. We have represented parents and grandparents with historic sexual convictions who merely want to volunteer/coach at their child’s football/cricket/rugby clubs. We have represented managers accused of falsifying finances and theft. 

In all cases, we would need to consider your minded to bar letter prior to speaking with you in conference. We will advise on the estimated chance of success on the case as it stands, and what information we require from you in order to improve your chances. Often this would be character references from current or previous employers. 

*All information provided has either been taken from the DBS’ annual 2022-2023 report or obtained directly from the DBS via a freedom of information request.

**Figures quoted in relation to our rate of success are calculated from cases we are able to quantify; there may be previous clients who have not informed us of their final decision. 

Olliers Specialist DBS Lawyers

Contact our specialist team to arrange a confidential discussion by telephone on 0161 8341515, by email to dbs@olliers.com or by completing the form below.

Nathalie Potter

Head of Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Department


Head Office


Satellite Office

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