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Navigating the Complexities of Employee Background Checks – Where do you start?

Moneymagpie Team 28th Feb 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The recruitment process has become far more complicated in recent years. As various industries are hit by new scandals, and then by the resultant regulations that are implemented to mitigate the possibility of future ones, it can feel like a confusingly complex area to navigate.

To help clear things up, we decided to take a quick look at the modern landscape of employee background checks and online DBS checks, to show that things aren’t quite as complicated as they might seem at first. 

What employee background checks are available?

To start off, it’s important to clarify what we mean by employee background checks. There are a number of different kinds of checks that can be carried out on potential employees. 

While some of these are specific to their respective industries, such as the financial sector, the main organisation that carries out criminal back checks is the DBS, or Disclosure and Barring Service.

DBS checks

The DBS is a non-departmental government body that’s responsible for carrying out criminal background checks in the UK. There are three main different checks that can be requested through the DBS.

  • Basic Check

The basic check is the lowest level of employee background check offered by the DBS, and it consists of looking at the individual’s spent criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands.

The basic check is available to anyone, meaning that individuals can request to have one carried out on themselves and employers in any industry and require one as part of the recruitment process. 

  • Standard Check

The standard check is one step up from the basic check, and looks for both spent and unspent criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands. Unlike the basic check, the standard check is regulated, meaning that it can only be requested for certain roles, generally via a trusted provider. These include roles with a high professional standard, such as those in the legal or financial sectors.

  • Enhanced Check

The enhanced check is the highest check available, and in addition to spent and unspent criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands, it will include any information that the police consider relevant to the role being applied for.

The enhanced check is also regulated, and can only be carried out for certain roles. These normally entail roles involving unsupervised contact with vulnerable individuals, such as in the healthcare or childcare sectors.

Working out which one you need

The basic check is generally an optional background check. You can request it as an employer if you like, to help to optimise your recruitment process, but it’s rarely a legal necessity.

The standard and enhanced checks on the other hand are often regulatory requirements for certain roles. If you’re an employer, it’s important that you check the relevant regulations covering your industry, so that you can make sure you request the appropriate checks.

Navigating the process might seem confusing at first, but by working with appropriate partners such as a background check expert, you can make it a whole lot easier. It’s crucial that you check with your industry’s specific regulations, so that you can carry out the appropriate background checks to keep your organisation safe.

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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