‘Disqualified by Association’

In the dynamic landscape of disclosure checking and safeguarding, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest developments. One significant change came in July 2018 when the government announced revisions to the “disqualified by association” rules. While seemingly minor, these changes hold significant implications for individuals seeking employment that requires an enhanced disclosure check. By understanding and embracing these updates, you can proactively navigate the landscape and unlock new opportunities.

So, what exactly does “disqualified by association” mean? Across the UK, police forces maintain lists of individuals whose crimes are deemed severe enough to permanently ban them from applying for jobs involving vulnerable groups. While many associate these rules with working with children, they also extend to other vulnerable populations, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and others. Until recently, this disqualification extended to immediate family members as well. In other words, anyone residing at the same address as the disqualified person could also face restrictions due to their association. This meant that someone could be barred from certain types of work because of the crimes committed by their spouse, adult child, or sibling.

However, in July 2018, the law underwent changes to eliminate this “disqualification by association” for individuals applying for work in specific settings. Those previously disqualified by association are now permitted to pursue employment in schools, hospitals, after-school clubs, and similar environments. While they still need to undergo their own Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, the decision to employ them hinges on the information revealed in their individual disclosure form. The key point is that there is no longer an automatic ban, and each case is assessed on its own merits.

It’s important to note that these changes do not grant everyone previously disqualified by association the freedom to apply for any job without limitations. Certain areas of work remain restricted to them, primarily roles involving caregiving within a person’s home, such as being a childminder. Even if the disqualified person is absent from the premises during childminding or work, it is deemed too risky to place children in an environment where a disqualified individual resides.

As you navigate these changes, it’s crucial to stay informed and proactive. Keep abreast of the latest regulations and understand the implications for your desired employment opportunities. Consider seeking guidance from professionals well-versed in safeguarding and disclosure checking processes to ensure you make informed decisions. Remember, these changes open doors to new possibilities, allowing individuals to pursue meaningful work and contribute positively to society while upholding the paramount importance of safeguarding vulnerable groups.


Embrace the opportunities that arise and proactively shape your future, knowing that the evolving landscape of disclosure checking and safeguarding holds the potential for personal growth and professional advancement.