DBS Checks: Are they important for a job?


Max Holly | Updated: 29-07-2021 10:37 IST | Created: 29-07-2021 10:37 IST
DBS Checks: Are they important for a job?
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Having a safe work environment is a requisite for most organizations, which is why they choose to avail the assistance of the Disclosure and Barring Service. DBS checks assist employers in knowing more about their employees and prospective employees so they can make smart recruitment decisions. The Disclosure and Barring Service has a separate barred list for children and adults indicating whether the individual can engage in activities or jobs related to these groups. The primary purpose of these checks is to prevent unsuitable candidates from getting positions in organizations that may result in a risk to others.

Levels of DBS Checks

Previously referred to as the CRB check, the DBS came about in 2012 by merging the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the CRB. After going through a DBS check, individuals receive a certificate which is shown to recruiters and employers.

There are several levels of DBS checks, each exploring different information about the individual.

  • The Basic Check – These basic disclosure checks can be used for any purpose. They cover details about convictions and cautions that come under the 'unspent' category according to the terms of the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA). This check can be applied for by an individual or by an employer on the individual's behalf.
  • The Standard DBS Check – This certificate will contain details about whether the individual has previously spent and unspent cautions, convictions, or warnings according to the Police National Computer. This check has to be carried out by the recruiting organization and cannot be done by the individuals themselves.
  • The Enhanced Check – Individuals in the line of healthcare or personal care who work with children, adults, or other vulnerable groups may need to get an enhanced DBS check done. This certificate comes with the same details as the standard test, however, were eligible, the employer can request that the candidate's history be cross-checked on the DBS barred lists as well. If found to be important, non-conviction information supplied by the police may also be added to the certificate. Once again, this check can only be applied for by the recruiting agency.

Who would have to get through the process of a DBS check? The eligibility criteria are mentioned and recruiters should check to make sure they are legally allowed to request an enhanced or standard DBS check for an individual. After all, these two checks involve revealing the person's entire criminal history, which is necessary when an individual is applying for a position in certain types of organizations. However, no one below the age of sixteen was asked to get a criminal record check done.

What do you need for a DBS Check?

You can apply for a DBS check online if that is more convenient. All that's needed to sign up for a basic test is:

  • Address of the last five years along with your date of residing in the given place
  • Passport
  • National Insurance Number
  • Driving license With these documents in hand, going in for the basic DBS test is a straightforward process.

What are the specifics for the Barring Lists all about?

Under the enhanced DBS checks, individuals are checked against one or both barred lists. If they are listed either under the adult's or children's category, it will show on their DBS certificate. The DBS is responsible for ensuring these lists are thorough and updated thereby allowing recruiters to make decisions that are based on the past behavior of the individual after taking into account the possibility of future harm.

The DBS barring team draws up the barred lists by including people who were involved in automatic barring offenses which involve being cautioned for serious offenses. They are usually listed in the Police National Computer. The DBS also hears about people through disclosures and referrals. Referrals are submitted to the DBS either online or via post when managers, employers, or others express concerns about a specific individual causing harm or having the potential to harm vulnerable groups.

Any individual who falls into the above three barring categories can explain why they feel it is inappropriate for the DBS to include them in the list. The only one where an individual cannot provide representation is if they were under the 'automatic barring offenses without representation' category. The DBS considers the representations before making a final barring decision.

Putting a person on the barring list is not a small task therefore the DBS takes extra precautions to ensure the people barred from working with children or adults are those who they believe either are or could be engaged in regulated activity in the future. Every person convicted of a relevant offense with automatic barring and has the right to make representation will be allowed to submit it to the DBS, which the DBS will consider before making the final barring decision.

Legislations related to DBS Checks

The ROA of 1974 puts forward that individuals need not reveal spent convictions unless they are covered in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1975 (Exceptions) Order. This order mentions the conditions under which an individual will be asked to disclose information about their spent convictions, also known as 'asking an exempted question.'

However, that's not all. Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, everything that falls under the umbrella of regulated activity as well the operation of the barring elements which used to be handled by the ISA is outlined.

The Criminal Records Bureau established under the Police Act has now been updated due to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This same act has reduced the scope of the definition of regulated activity and lays out new services provided by the DBS.

Who does the DBS work with?

The workings of the DBS extend to several organizations, including

  • The Police force – The police in Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Isle of Man and the Police National Computer is the primary repositories for the DBS to obtain local information
  • Responsible Organisations – These are organizations that have registered with the DBS to submit basic DBS checks
  • ACRO Criminal Records Office – The DBS works with ACRO as it holds information on criminals and tries to improve criminal biometric and other information

Thus, needing to go in for a DBS check is not something to worry about. As long as you can put forward convincing representation about any misdemeanour found in your past, you will not have to worry about it.

(Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)

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