HR 3 September 2018

A complete guide to DBS checks for employers

DBS checks
DBS checks exist to help organisations recruit safely

Writing for Business Advice, George Griffiths, managing director at recruitment screening platform uCheck, offers employers a complete guide to DBS checks and the eligibility criteria for each type of check.

Every year more than four million Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are carried out on behalf of employers.

These checks exist to help organisations recruit safely; they are essential for safeguarding vulnerable groups, including children.

If you’re an employer recruiting for certain roles, you may be required by law to carry out DBS checks during the hiring process to ensure that the applicant is suitable for the role.

Read on to find out more about the level of DBS checks and the eligibility criteria for each type.

What types of DBS check are there?

There are four main types of DBS check that prove a person’s suitability for a role.

  1. Basic DBS Check

There are cases in which a role is not eligible for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, yet the employer may still want to check the applicant’s criminal record. This may be the case for jobs such as delivery drivers or shop workers.

A Basic DBS Check is not job-specific and so, in these circumstances, you can ask an individual to apply for a Basic DBS Check on themself. You can also request a Basic DBS Check on their behalf, provided that you have their consent.

A Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of check available and shows any “unspent convictions”?(after a defined period of time, convictions and cautions can be written off a person’s criminal record; this is referred to as a ‘spent conviction. If the defined period of time has not yet passed, these convictions and cautions will be “unspent”).?

  1. Standard DBS Check
A Standard DBS Check is required for roles that are listed as exempt? from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1975. This includes positions within the financial or security industries, such as solicitors, accountants, security guards, and locksmiths.

This level of check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions the applicant has, as well as any cautions, reprimands or final warnings.

The only exception to this rule is if the convictions or cautions are protected under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. This is referred to as “filtering” and means that, although those convictions and cautions will remain on the Police National Computer (PNC), they will not be disclosed on a Standard DBS check. Filtering helps to prevent employers from taking old and minor offences into account when deciding who to hire.

  1. Enhanced DBS Check
Anyone applying for a role that involves contact with children and/or vulnerable adults will need to have an Enhanced DBS check.

An Enhanced DBS Check will reveal the same information as a Standard DBS Check, as well as any relevant information held by the applicant’s local police authority.

Contractors who may come into contact with children or vulnerable adults through the course of their work will also need this level of check, even though the nature of their role does not require them to regularly engage with these groups. For example, an engineer or technician who has been contracted to work in a school or at a hospital with access to wards will need to have an enhanced DBS check.

  1. Enhanced DBS with Barred List Check

The most comprehensive level of check available is the Enhanced DBS with Barred Lists Check. This level of check ensures that an applicant has not been prohibited from working with children or vulnerable adults.


Business Law & Compliance