The Disclosure and Barring Service, a new organisation formed from the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority, has launched. The Home Office says the new Disclosure and Barring Service will make it clearer and simpler for those requiring criminal records disclosures (CRB) and barring checks for employment purposes.

The Disclosure Barring Service will oversee a number of government reforms including the introduction of portable CRB checks which will eliminate the need for multiple checking and an online update service which will make it easier for employers to assess individuals.

Volunteering England and a group of charities have called on the Government to confirm whether the online system will be free for volunteers. The group has written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, arguing that by charging volunteers to use the new online service runs counter to efforts to make the system less of a barrier to people wanting to give their time.

Other upcoming changes to the current system of criminal record checks and barring include introducing a single criminal records certificate which will be sent only to the applicant; an independent right of review to allow individuals to challenge information disclosed about them before it is given to their employer; and reducing the number of positions requiring barring checks from 9.3m to around 5m.

Portable CRB checks were launched in Spring 2013.