5 Steps To Getting A DBS Check
Being asked to complete a DBS check application is a common request from employers these days. Ever since the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) was formed in 2012, DBS checks and certificates have grown in popularity as a way to run background checks on people.
Here we will discuss the 5 steps you need to take to successfully apply for a DBS check.
What Are DBS Checks?
A DBS check reveals details of an individual’s criminal record, which means they can be vetted for job roles. There are 3 levels of DBS check and which one is carried out depends on the responsibilities and details of the role.
Basic DBS Check – reveals unspent convictions only and is used for lower responsibility jobs such as shop assistant or factory worker.
Standard DBS Check – reveals spent and unspent conviction, as well as cautions, reprimands, etc. The standard DBS check is for slightly more responsible jobs, including those that involve occasional, supervised contact with children and vulnerable adults.
Enhanced DBS Check (additionally with barred list check, depending on the role) – reveals the same details as a standard DBS check, but also any relevant police notes and may also include a search through the DBS barred lists. Enhanced DBS checks are reserved for what the DBS classify as “regulated activities”, i.e. regular unsupervised contact with children and vulnerable adults.
A Basic DBS check can be applied for by any individual or requested by an employer. Standard and Enhanced DBS checks must be submitted by an employer or registered third party. DBS checks are not only for direct employees, they can also be used to vet contractors, sub-contractors, and volunteers.
Step 1: Apply
The first step is to fill in the application form with all the details and submit it, along with any required ID documents. The DBS will acknowledge receipt and will follow up with a rejection (if there are mistakes on the form) or validation. Once the application form is validated, the criminal record check can take place.
Step 2: Criminal Record Search
The DBS begins to process the application by searching through the PNC (Police National Computer) database for any details of past convictions. The PNC contains records from various law enforcement agencies throughout the UK. Depending on the level of the DBS check, the search may check for spent and unspent convictions, outstanding warrants, cautions, warnings, and reprimands.. If the check is only a basic or standard, the following two steps do not apply.
Step 3: Relevant Police Notes Highlighted (Enhanced DBS Check Only)
If the DBS application is for an enhanced certificate, then the process will entail a query of local police force records for any relevant information held on file – interview notes, police concerns, etc. especially if related to safeguarding incidents. The Quality Assurance Framework must be adhered to by the police to make sure that only relevant information is held and shared and the right to individual privacy is not breached.
Step 4: Barred List Check (If Necessary)
The barred list is a register of names held on a database by the DBS of individuals that are considered to be too much of a risk to work in any kind of safeguarding role. A barred list check needs to be requested with the Enhanced DBS Check for safeguarding critical jobs and roles only.
Not all positions that necessitate and Enhanced DBS Check will require a barred list check. In order to decide which positions need a barred list check, the DBS has drawn up a list of regulated activities which include teaching, coaching, or caring for children or vulnerable adults. Make sure that you don’t request a barred list check when it is not necessary as it is illegal and you can be prosecuted for doing so.
Extra Note On Steps 3 & 4:
Steps 3 and 4 relate only to Enhanced DBS Checks, and the in-depth nature of these checks means that they may take longer than basic or standard ones which take up to 2 weeks on average. Enhanced checks may take anywhere between 3 to 8 weeks, or even longer in some cases.
Delays can occur if:
- The applicant has moved address several times in recent years
- The applicant has not disclosed past convictions up front
- The applicant has changed their name by deed poll
- There are mistakes on the application form – wrong address, wrong date of birth, etc.
- The DBS and/or police departments are exceptionally busy or under-staffed.
Step 5: Delivery of the DBS Certificate
Once all the checks and searches have been completed, the information therein has been recorded, and the certificate has been printed, then it will be sent out in the post to the applicant and/or the organisation that requested the document.
It is important to realise that only a registered body (such as ourselves) can request a standard or enhanced DBS check.
For businesses or organisations that rely on DBS checks, it is recommended that DBS certificates are updated for each employee or volunteer at regular intervals to pick up on any additional convictions. You can apply for a DBS Check on behalf of your business here.
We offer an online service that makes the process of applying for a DBS check much quicker and more straightforward. To find out more about DBS checks, including how to use our convenient online service, get in touch today.