Do I Need A DBS Check?
Are you looking to be employed in the UK? Perhaps you would like to do volunteer work in a school or with the elderly? If this is you, then you may want to consider the fact that many recruiters will action certain background checks on you to ensure that you are the right candidate for the role you are applying for. One common form of background screening that some employers conduct is a DBS check. In this article, we will discuss frequently asked questions about DBS checks, including “What is a DBS check? Do I need one?”
DBS checks arose in 2012 when the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) joined forces to tighten security and ensure that more thorough background checks were conducted. Together, the ISA and CRB are now a collective force known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
What Is A DBS Check?
The main purpose of a DBS check is to aid employers in making safer recruitment decisions, especially when the role requires an excellent level of trust (for example, if you want to work as a teacher, in a bank where you handle money, or with vulnerable groups). When this type I screening is done, then a record of an individual’s criminal convictions and warnings is handed over to the employer or the agency that’s put forth the application. This background check is performed by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
DBS checks are divided into three levels. The level of screening that needs to be administered will depend on the role of the individual who needs to be screened.
Types of DBS Checks
Whilst DBS checks are not mandatory for everyone, most employers prefer to do a thorough background screening to ensure the authenticity of the person who they are about to employ.
There are three types of DBS checks and depending on your role, you will fall into one of these three categories.
Basic DBS Check
Basic DBS checks can be requested by any individual. It’s background screening in its simplest form and only covers any recent or serious unspent convictions. Employers will apply for a basic check if they want some information on a person who is not necessarily eligible for a full check. This level of checking is also commonly used for personal licence applications and to obtain certain visas.
Standard DBS Check
Only employers and agencies have access to standard DBS checks. This is a more thorough type of screening that reports on any spent convictions as well as unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands. People who need this type of screening are generally professionals in the following fields:
- Court or prison workers
- Veterinary surgeons
Enhanced DBS Checks
This is the highest level of background screening and is mostly initiated by organisations who are recruiting individuals who will be working with children and vulnerable groups. Apart from reporting on any spent and unspent convictions, warnings, and reprimands, an enhanced check also includes a barred list check which reports on those who are barred from working with youth or vulnerable adults in the UK. For example, if you wish to foster or adopt, work as a teacher or childminder, or work with groups of people who are in a vulnerable state, then this level of screening would apply to you.
When Do I Need A DBS Check?
Employees, job applicants, and volunteers only need to have a DBS check carried out if they are applying for specific roles that require a thorough background check.
For example – a DBS check will be a legal requirement if you want to work as a:
As a rule of thumb, all persons who will be working with or in close proximity of children and vulnerable adults will need a DBS check before they can be hired for a role. Some professional roles (for example, solicitors and accountants) may also need a DBS check before qualifying to practice in a profession.
How Do I Get A DBS Check?
DBS checks are used by organisations to vet employees and candidates. As such, only businesses and organisations can request them (barring basic checks, which can be applied for by individuals by following similar steps as below).
The steps are as follows:
- An employer or an agency requests the relevant form from the DBS (or a registered agency such as The Check People)
- You are requested to complete and sign the form
- You return the form to the employer with the supporting documents to prove your identity
- This completed form is then sent to the DBS
- The relevant checks are actioned
- You will receive a certificate with your report information once the check has been completed – you can pass this certificate to the employer for review
How Long Does A DBS Check Take to Be Completed?
A DBS check can take anywhere from 24 hours to 8 weeks to be completed. The time period is generally determined by the type of check that’s been requested and whether you have supplied all of the correct details on the application form. Certificates can also take longer to issue if there is a backlog in processing applications.
Does A DBS Certificate Expire?
A DBS certificate never officially expires but your employer may want to update your file every three years or so. According to the gov.uk website, it’s possible to carry out additional checks on a DBS certificate.
What If I Am Not Happy with The Information in My DBS Report?
If you feel that the information that reflects on your DBS report is not true or accurate, you can appeal against it. Any errors will need to be reported to the DBS within three months of receiving the certificate.
An appeal can be made by you or your employer and the local authorities will then walk you through the next steps.
For more information on DBS checks, please contact The Check People.