The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is responsible for undertaking criminal record checks on individuals to ensure that there are no grievances against their names. Anyone who is in a position of trust should have a DBS check but, in most scenarios, it’s employers who find this service the most useful. They can use the information gathered during the DBS check to make informed and safe decisions regarding employment.
Whether you are an employer, an employee or a volunteer, this guide will answer common questions that you may have about the background screening process.
What Is A DBS Check?
The purpose of a DBS check is to investigate whether an individual has any recorded convictions, reprimands, warnings or cautions under their name. There are different levels of checks (which we will discuss below) and in some instances, where a candidate may have to work with young or vulnerable people, this background screening will also include running a check against the adult and children’s barred list.
In the UK, a DBS check is a legal requirement for those who wish to work or volunteer with children or adults who are in a vulnerable state.
Are There Different Types of DBS Checks?
DBS Checks are divided into three different levels. The type of check required for each person will depend on their role and the duties in question.
Let’s take a deeper look at each level:
- Basic DBS Check: This type of screening is available to anyone for any purpose. You do not have to be an employer or an agency to apply for this level of certification.
- Standard DBS Check: This is a more in-depth check into an individual’s background and a certificate will reflect spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings. Only an employer or an agency can apply for this level of screening.
- Enhanced DBS Check: This is the highest level of screening and is applicable to anyone who works in a position of trust with children and vulnerable groups. Apart from conducting a criminal record check, it also reviews the Children’s and Vulnerable Adults Barred list to see if any misconduct is mentioned. Like a standard DBS checked, this level of certification needs to be applied for by an employer or an agency (individuals do not have direct access to this information).
How Long Does It Take to Receive A DBS Check?
The timescale for a DBS check depends on the level of certification you are applying for. For example:
- In many instances, standard and enhanced DBS checks are ready within 24 hours, although some applicants can often wait for a week before they receive their feedback.
- Most basic DBS checks are ready within 10 working days.
There are rare occasions where an application may exceed a couple of weeks. If this does happen, then the enquiry is escalated to make the application a priority.
Do All Organisations Need to Screen Their Employees?
A DBS check is not a requirement for all industries, although it is always recommended to screen employees so that you know who you are hiring and if they come with a background that could pose as a problem to you in the future.
In the UK, DBS checks are not required by law (unless you are working with children or vulnerable individuals). Many governing bodies (such as OFSTED and the CQC), however, state that employers must conduct checks on candidates whom they wish to employ. For example, professionals such as accountants and lawyers will need to have a standard DBS check certificate to practise (more on this below).
Which Professions Require A Background Screening?
Background checks are most common when an individual works within one of the following industries:
- Computer and IT management
A career type will determine which level of DBS check is required. For example, professionals will need a standard check at the very least whilst those who work with children and vulnerable adults will need to the most thorough type of check, namely an enhanced check.
The information received in each report will help employers to ensure that the individuals who they recruit are properly qualified to:
- care for young people;
- handle money honestly;
- care for the elderly or people with medical issues.
What Information Will A DBS Check Display?
Background checks help employees to determine whether an applicant’s CV and information is honest and accurate. Individuals applying for jobs often cover up parts of their life or mislead recruiters so that their past discrepancies do not affect the hiring process. A DBS check certifies that what the applicant is saying is true and if hidden information arises, then an employer can make a more informed decision on whether a person is still best-suited for the position in question.
With this in mind, here is a list of convictions that will appear on a DBS report:
- Common Assaults
- Drunk and Disorderly Behaviour
- Many Motoring Offences
- Drug-related Offences
- Crimes Involving Violence
- Safeguarding Offences
- Sexual Offences
How Long Is A DBS Valid For?
There is no official expiry date on a DBS check. The information that reflects on the very first report that’s applied for can be used for the years to come – unless an employer requests an updated version. For instance, some companies request that employees receive a DBS check every three years.
Can Any Individual Request A DBS Check?
As it stands, an individual cannot administer a personal DBS check on themselves. This is because this type of screening has mostly been reserved for organisations who need to make good and accurate recruitment decisions. As such, only employers and agencies can apply.
There are, however, agencies (such as OFSTED) with which individuals can subscribe to. These agencies will then perform the checks on the applicant’s behalf.
Where Can I Get a Background Check?
If you would like more information on background screening and DBS checks, please contact The Check People. We will happily guide you through the process and answer any of your questions that are not mentioned above.