Can DBS Checks Come Back With The Wrong Results?
Many jobs and voluntary roles require a criminal record check, especially those that involve working with children or vulnerable adults.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is the national public body (under the control of the Home Office), that performs the criminal background check. Therefore, DBS procedures and operations are closely scrutinised and managed.
Does this mean that the DBS is perfect and all results are 100% accurate?
This article will explore whether it’s possible for DBS check results to be wrong and what to do if you think there has been a mistake.
The DBS itself is an efficient organisation that has a good track record for providing accurate reports and information. But, wherever there is human input there is going to be room for human error.
It is important that the information provided by the applicant on the application form is initially provided as accurately as possible. This will then be checked by a processing agent who will check for discrepancies and ensure to their best ability that there are no mistakes.
Although the DBS relies on computer systems and databases, there is also room for error there, as computer systems are never perfect, there will always be potential for bugs and glitches in the software.
Also, the results of a DBS search are only as good as the data in the system. If somebody has entered the wrong details of a criminal conviction, mixing up names or details of the offence for example, this will show up on the DBS check.
So, what can you do about this if it happens to you?
Disputing DBS Check Results
As you would expect, there are procedures for querying or disputing the results of a DBS check. If, when you receive your DBS check report, you believe there are errors, you have the absolute right to challenge them.
Legally, if you want to challenge a DBS check, you must do so within 3 months of the certificate being issued. It can take quite a bit of time to locate the source of the error and rectify it, so the sooner you can make your complaint, the better.
In terms of who has the right to dispute a DBS check, any party involved, including the employer, applicant, counter signatory, or the licensing authority are allowed to challenge it.
DBS Appeal Process
In order to dispute the DBS check, the person or organisation challenging the details or information contained within the report must advise the DBS as soon as possible.
If the party challenging the DBS check is anyone other than the applicant, for example the employer or licensing authority, they must get the applicant’s consent first.
The typical appeals process looks something like this:
1. The challenging party advises the DBS of their intention to dispute the result, within 3 months of the certificate being issued.
2. If the dispute involves incorrect personal information or criminal record details, the challenging party must file a DBS Certificate Dispute Form, available here.
3. If information provided by the police is in dispute, the DBS liaises with the relevant police force to identify whether an error has been made.
4. In some cases, an Independent Monitor may be needed, if a resolution proves to be difficult.
5. If it is concluded that an error has been made, the DBS check will be changed immediately with a new certificate issued at no extra cost. If it is decided that no error has been made, the original DBS check result will stand.
How To Appeal A Barring Decision
If a person is added to a barred list, and they disagree with their presence on it, they have the right to appeal.
For people that believe they have been wrongly added to a barred list, they can appeal if they:
- Had their name added automatically after a caution or conviction
- Believe inaccurate information was used by the DBS to bar you
- Suspect that the DBS made a legal mistake by adding you to the barred list.
In this case, a tribunal will make a decision as to whether your appeal has merit. If they decide to hear the evidence, the tribunal will ultimately decide whether to amend the list or not, and the decision is final. In other words, you won’t be able to appeal again.
If you have any questions or are looking to get a DBS check, don’t hesitate to get in touch so that one of our agents can assist you here.