What is a DBS check?
Criminal record checks have been around for some time helping employers to find suitable people to work with children and vulnerable groups. However, this process has become increasingly complicated and lengthy so the government has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Moneymagpie explains all you need to know about the DBS.
- What is a DBS check?
- Who should get a DBS check?
- How do DBS checks work?
- What’s the difference between the CRB and the DBS?
- How do I get a DBS check?
- How much do DBS checks costs ?
The Disclosure and Barring Service replaces both the Criminal Records Burea (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). It is a way for an employer to verify a prospective or current employee’s response to the question “Do you have any criminal convictions?”
Usually, you only really need a DBS check if you are planning on working with vulnerable people and children- other jobs might not require this.
Your employers would apply to have a check done on your behalf. A DBS check will determine whether or not it is appropriate for a person to be a placed or removed from a barred list in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
When a check has been processed by the DBS and completed the employer and individual will receive a DBS certificate.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974, criminals who have served a prison sentence of less than two and a half years and do not re-offend during a set ‘rehabilitation’ period after their release will have their conviction spent, which means it doesn’t show up any more and is no longer relevant when the person is being considered for most jobs.
Generally speaking, if you plan on working with children or vulnerable people you will probably need a DBS check. Employers may wish to look at the DBS eligibility guidance list which runs down most roles that are eligible for a check. However, the guidance isn’t comprehensive, and you should contact the DBS if you’re unsure.
If you’re the person being checked, your potentially new employer will give you a form to fill in and return to them along with documents proving your identity such as a passport, current driving licence and proof of address. You can find more information on what documents are accepted here.
Employers should only arrange a DBS check on a successful job applicant. They can withdraw a job offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable. These are the basic steps for an employer who wants to perform a DBS check:
- Get the application form from DBS or your umbrella body.
- Ask the candidate to fill in the application form.
- Send the application form to your umbrella body or DBS.
- If your organisation is registered with DBS the counter signatory has to sign the form. DBS will send you a certificate.
There are several parts to the DBS, here is a quick breakdown:
Disclosure:The DBS searches police records and barred list information before deciding to give the applicant a certificate giving them approval to work with children and vulnerable people.
The applicant would then give this certificate to your employer so they can make an informed decision about hiring you.
The certificate will contain extremely sensitive and personal information so there is a code of practice for recipients so you know the information is being handled fairly and used properly.
Referrals: Referrals are made to the DBS if an employer or an organisation such as a regulatory body has concerns that a person could harmful or be a future risk to vulnerable groups including children. In this case, the employer must make the referral to the DBS as it’s not obligatory for regulatory bodies.
Barring This is a critical bit of the DBS check because if you are barred, your employer might not consider you appropriate for the role. The DBS do try and make the baring decisions as fair as they can be, looking into each individual case.
There are two main ways a case can reach them.
There are two types of automatic barring cases, firstly where a person has been cautioned or convicted for a ‘relevant offence’ and barred without representation offences. Secondly, you could face being on the barred list an automatic bar if you will be placed on the barred list if you have representation offences.
However you might be considered by the DBS if you have representational offences. Automatic barring can also occur regardless of whether you are currently or have previously worked with children and vulnerable groups.
As mentioned this is put forward by an employer or organisation rather than the individual.
A registered body is an organisation that has the right to ask the questions that are exempt under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act or can countersign on the behalf of another organisation who are themselves entitled to ask these questions. Basically they’re in charge of making sure that your application is kosher and will countersign it once they’ve processed it to say that all your information is genuine. Before they do this they will:
- Check and validate the information you give them
- Make sure you are who you say you are
- Check that your application form is correctly filled in and that you haven’t told any porkies
Make sure that the application process complies with the DBS’s code of practice.
The DSB replaced the CRB in December 2012 to make the process more efficient and simpler. Unlike the CRB, the DSBS has a new system meaning that for the first time, individuals will be able to apply to have their criminal record check kept up to date and employers will be able to go online to see if the information released is still current and valid.
The new online service – costing £13 a year to keep your criminal record up to date online – comes into effect from June 17. This means you can take the certificate with you from role to role, within the same workforce, without having to apply for a new one each time. When subscribing to this service, you would only have to seek a new criminal record check if the system tells you something has changed.
You can’t do a criminal records check on yourself. For individuals who are self-employed, getting a DBS check is difficult. If you need to run a check on yourself, you can get a ‘basic disclosure’ with details of any unspent convictions from Disclosure Scotland. You can also get checked through an organisation you belong to, like your church or a sports club, whereby they act as your third party.
You can also get your check with the UK Umbrella service which provides checks for the self-employed. However if you cannot get your hands on the DBS check, a good alternative is a Subject Access Report which you can obtain by filling out a form online or going down to your local police station. The report costs £10 and shows anything that is on your record. It should take around four weeks to process.
There are three types of check each with a different price.
|Type of check and cost||What it will check for||How long it normally takes|
|Standard – £26||Spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings||About two weeks|
|Enhanced – £44||As above – plus any additional information held locally by police forces that’s reasonably considered relevant to the post applied for||About four weeks|
|Enhanced with list checks – £44||As above – plus a check of the appropriate DBS barred lists||About four weeks|
However, on top of these charges you will pay administration fees which will vary according to the different Registered Bodies, but are usually in the region of £20 plus VAT.
- DBS checks are only valid in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For Scotland you must get your check done by Disclosure Scotland. All checks carried out cost £25.
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