Working in Regulated Activity With Vulnerable Adults: a Definition

When discussing safeguarding in relation to vulnerable adults, the phrase ‘ working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults ’ is often used. But what’s the definition?

working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults

What is ‘working in regulated activity’?

‘Regulated activity’ is a classification used to determine what level of DBS check an employee or volunteer should have.

If a role involves working in regulated activity, the applicant will be required to undergo an enhanced DBS check with a check of the relevant barred list.

Regulated activity can relate to either children or vulnerable adults, and there are two corresponding barred lists.

The children’s and adults’ barred lists are maintained by the DBS, and list individuals who have been barred from working with those groups.

It’s against the law to employ someone in a role which involves working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults and/or children if they’ve been barred from doing so.

Below, we’ve provided a definition of working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults.

First of all, within the DBS, who’s classed as a vulnerable adult?

A vulnerable adult can range from 16 years old and upwards.

If a 16-year-old is out of full time education, they would then be classed as an adult and could fall into the vulnerable adult category if they met the set criteria.

If a person is in full time education between the ages of 16 and 18 they would be classed as a child within the DBS criteria, and would become an adult when they turn 18.

In 2012, the government updated its legislation so that adults are no longer labelled vulnerable because of their personal characteristics or circumstances.

An adult is considered vulnerable if they require regulated activity to be provided to them.

The definition of working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults

There are six categories which fall under the definition of working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults. We’ve listed them below, with examples of job roles for each category.

Providing health care

The provision of health care by any health care professional to an adult, or the provision of health care to an adult under the direction or supervision of a health care professional, is classed as a regulated activity.

Roles that fall under this category may include:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Therapists
  • Counsellors

Providing personal care

A person will be working in regulated activity if they supervise, prompt, train, instruct, provide advice or guidance or provide physical assistance to an adult in relation to any of the following:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Going to the toilet
  • Washing or bathing
  • Dressing
  • Oral care
  • Care of the skin, hair or nails (hairdressers are excluded from this)

These activities will only be classed as regulated activity if the person receiving the care requires it due to their age, illness or disability.

Roles that fall under this category may include:

  • Care assistant in a care home
  • Support worker

Providing social work

The activities of regulated social workers in relation to adults who are clients or potential clients are a regulated activity. These activities include assessing or reviewing the need for health or social care services, and providing ongoing support to clients.

Assistance with general household matters

A person is in regulated activity if they provide day-to-day assistance to an adult, because of their age, illness or disability, with any of the following:

  • Managing the vulnerable adults cash
  • Paying their bills
  • Shopping on their behalf

Roles that may fall under this category include:

  • A volunteer at an older adults’ home who does residents’ shopping on their behalf

Assistance in the conduct of a person’s own affairs

A person is in regulated activity if they provide assistance in the conduct of an adult’s own affairs by virtue of:

  • Lasting power of attorney under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Enduring power of attorney within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 Being appointed as the adult’s deputy under the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • Being an Independent Mental Health Advocate
  • Being an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate
  • Providing independent advocacy services under the National Health Service Act 2006 or National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006
  • Receiving payments on behalf of that person under the Social Security Administration Act 1992

Conveying

Any drivers or assistants who transport an adult because of their age, illness or disability to or from places where they have received, or will be receiving, health care, relevant personal care or relevant social work, are in regulated activity.

This does not include licensed taxi drivers (even though they do require a DBS disclosure) or drivers who undertake trips for purposes other than to receive health care, personal care or social work.

Roles that fall under this category may include:

  • Ambulance technicians
  • Hospital porters
  • Patient Transport Service drivers and assistants                                 

 

We hope our definition of working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults has given you an idea of the scope of the term.

For a complete definition, see the Department of Health’s publication Regulated Activity (Adults).