9 Common Questions About DBS Checks Answered
Here at DBSchecks we find that we keep getting asked the same questions.
There are a lot of misconceptions and confusion about DBS checks out there. And no wonder – it’s quite a complex topic, with some contradictory advice out there.
That’s why we’ve put our heads together and come up with a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions about DBS checks, along with answers from our team of DBS check experts.
1. What exactly is a DBS check?
In simple terms, a DBS check is a background check that involves searching through an individual’s criminal record and flagging up any convictions.
DBS checks are used to vet potential employees, current employees, volunteers, and people with other responsible roles such as council members.
Depending on the level of the DBS check, they reveal any information about spent and unspent convictions and cautions or warnings. For most crimes, the check only covers a period of 11 years, but some serious crimes stay on people’s records indefinitely and will always be revealed by a DBS check – e.g. certain sex crimes, child abuse, and terrorism.
2. Do I need a DBS check?
The answer depends on the type of job role you want to perform. More and more businesses are using DBS check as a way of ensuring they hire people of good character with a clean background.
All roles that involve direct contact with vulnerable adults, elderly, and children will require a DBS check. These days, your employer can apply for a DBS check on your behalf online, or you can apply for a Basic DBS check online for yourself.
3. What level of DBS check do I need?
Again, this depends on the type of role you are expected to perform and the safeguarding requirements of the job.
Basic DBS checks only highlight unspent convictions and are generally for roles that have a low level of responsibility and no contact with vulnerable groups of people.
Standard DBS checks reveal unspent and spent convictions, as well as warnings, reprimands and cautions. These are for roles that have more responsibility, such as handling finances, or where there is limited or supervised contact with vulnerable groups.
Enhanced DBS check and Enhanced with barred list checks are the highest levels and are for highly responsible jobs and those working directly with vulnerable groups. If the role involves regular unsupervised contact with vulnerable adults or children, an enhanced DBS check with barred list will be required, as this checks your name against the DBS list of people that have received a lifetime ban from working with these groups due to the severe nature of their crimes.
3. Are DBS checks a legal requirement?
For some roles, yes, they are legally required. The roles that legally require a DBS check are ones that involve taking part in a regulated activity, such as working directly with vulnerable adults and children.
Basic DBS checks are not a legal requirement and are usually requested as a company or organisational policy.
4. How can I renew my DBS check?
Usually your employer will prompt you when it is time to renew your Standard or Enhanced DBS check, according to their policy. You are able to renew a Basic DBS check yourself and you can apply for this online through our quick and easy-to-use service.
Another way to renew your DBS is to sign up for the DBS update service which does it automatically for you and makes your DBS check certificate transferable between jobs. A yearly memebership fee of £13 is payable for this service and you must sign up within 14 days of receiving your initial certificate.
5. Is it possible to pass or fail a DBS check?
No, a DBS check isn’t a pass or fail test. The DBS certificate will simply reveal any information held on your criminal record to you and your employer. Whether the employer hires you or not based on the result of the DBS check is at their discretion.
6. I’m self-employed, do I need a DBS check?
It depends what you are doing in your self-employed role. If you are a window cleaner who works alone and does not come into contact with vulnerable people in your day-to-day work, then no, you won’t need a DBS check. If you work as a self-employed contractor and you get hired to do some maintenance work in a school while children are present, then yes, you will probably need a DBS check. In this case the school may apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS check on your behalf.
7. How much does a DBS check cost?
DBS Check fees vary depending on the level of the check. At the time of writing, the following fees apply:
If the DBS check is a requirement of the role, usually your employer will pay the fee for you. If the role is a voluntary one and you won’t be reimbursed in any way for the role, the voluntary organisation don’t have to pay the full fee and just pay a nominal amount to cover administration.
8. How can I apply for a DBS check?
There are two ways to apply for a DBS check – by post or online.
Online DBS applications are much easier and faster. It is also smoother, as there is less chance that you’ll make a mistake due to the automatic checking process built in to online DBS application forms.
9. How long does a DBS check take to complete?
For postal DBS checks, the average waiting time to receive your certificate is 4 weeks, although sometimes it can be as quick as two weeks.
Online DBS checks are much faster, with an average completion time of just 24 hours. It is even possible for the process to complete within 12 hours of submitting your online form!
Apply for your DBS check online to save time
If you need a DBS check for yourself or on behalf of an employee, then the online DBS application is your best bet as it is faster and much more reliable.
Talk to one of our expert team today to find out more about our service here