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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Checks but Were Too Afraid to Ask!

DBS Checks
Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check is a record of an individual’s criminal history, as held on the Police National Computer (PNC), and may also include intelligence held on local police databases. DBS checks were formerly known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks; when the Protection of Freedoms Act merged the CRB with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in 2012, the newly formed body became known as the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Who Conducts DBS Checks?

In the UK, there are three disclosure agencies; one covering England & Wales (the Disclosure & Barring Service), a second covering Scotland (Disclosure Scotland) and the final one covering Northern Ireland (Access). While each agency produces broadly the same reports, it is worth noting that the period after which a conviction is considered “spent” (under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) can differ between these countries and agencies.

What Does a DBS Check Involve?

There are three standards of DBS: Basic, Standard and Enhanced. Whilst the most suitable standard will predominantly depend upon the role, ultimately, the purpose of each is to safeguard vulnerable groups from exploitation or harm at the hands of those unsuitable to work with them. A DBS check may highlight, for example, a history of dishonesty offences, thus rendering that individual unfit to handle money or sensitive data. Likewise, it could highlight convictions relating to offences against children or the elderly, ruling the candidate out of work that involves those groups of people.

Basic DBS

A Basic check will highlight any convictions which remain unspent, as well as conditional cautions.

Standard DBS

A Standard check will highlight everything that a Basic DBS shows, in addition to spent convictions, unconditional cautions, reprimands and final warnings.

Enhanced DBS

An Enhanced check highlights all the same criminality as a Standard check, with the addition of any intelligence information held by the police, which they consider pertinent to the role. Optionally, Enhanced checks can also show whether the applicant is barred from working with adults, children or both, though employers must specifically request this information.

DBS Checks

Who Needs a DBS Check?

As indicated above, whether or not a DBS check is required and, if so, which standard is most appropriate is largely role-dependent.

A DBS Check is compulsory when a prospective employee (whether paid or voluntary) will be in contact with vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly. Further, all medical professionals require a DBS check, as do professionals with high levels of trust invested in them, such as lawyers and accountants.

If you’re unsure whether or not your hire needs a DBS, get in touch; our friendly and knowledgeable team members are always happy to help!

How Long Does a DBS Check Remain Valid?

Since DBS checks only record data held by police up to their issue date, they cannot be considered permanent documents. An individual’s criminal record could easily change during their employment, so it is imperative that employers routinely screen their existing employees to ensure that they remain the right people for their roles. Likewise, whilst a prospective employee may come armed with a DBS check from a previous role, it is only accurate up to the date of issue; consequently, companies should always request an up-to-date DBS check as part of the candidate’s pre-employment screening.

How Long Will a DBS Check Take?

Whilst there are inevitably some variables in screening, here at Secure Screening Services, we have great systems in place to ensure you get the screening you want in the fastest times possible. The average turnaround time for a Basic DBS check is just two days.

How Secure Screening Services Can Help

At Secure Screening Services, we know that you want to safeguard your staff and those with whom they come into contact whilst simultaneously safeguarding your organisation’s reputation. With impressive turnaround times, clear and comprehensive reports and a transparent pricing structure, you can be sure that our highly experienced team of screening experts will help you to get the right people for the right roles, first time. Click here to start screening your people today.

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