Can I Start Work Without A DBS Check?
If you’re looking for a job at the moment and you’ve started applying, you may have noticed that more and more employers are requesting background checks. The most common way for employers to check your background is to request a criminal record check, also known as a DBS check.
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service and a DBS check involves sending through your details to the DBS office (either by post or online) and waiting for the result of a search through your criminal record.
It’s not only jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable adults that ask for a DBS check these days. Roles such as working in finance, driving public transport, shop assistant, in fact – just about any job may request one.
If you are about to start a job that requires a DBS check, you may be wondering – can I start work before the result of the DBS check comes through? Let’s find out.
Are you allowed to start work without a DBS check?
There is no law to say that you can’t start a job without a DBS check, unless it is a regulated activity as defined by the DBS, in which case you’ll need an enhanced DBS certificate before you can start. This applies to roles such as working or volunteering in a school, elderly care home, or healthcare environment.
For roles that are not recognised as regulated activities and only require a lower level DBS check (basic or standard), some employers will insist that the result comes through before you begin.
In fact, most employers will insist that you have received a DBS certificate before starting. At the end of the day, employers need to protect their business or organisation which is why they requested a DBS check in the first place. Why would they bother asking for one if they don’t care about the result?
Don’t take this personally. It’s not that they don’t trust you – the employer should treat everyone equally in this respect. It’s all about protecting other people and their business or organisation from harm.
Find out about the company policy
If you’re unsure about whether your potential employer requires a DBS check, you can ask before putting in an application or during the interview. It’s a good idea to find out about the DBS check policy as soon as possible during the process, so you can get the documents together for your application.
You can even carry out a Basic DBS check yourself through our online portal. Turning up at an interview with your DBS certificate already in-hand is a good way to make a strong first impression – let’s face it – employers love people who are proactive and organised.
How long does it take to get a DBS certificate?
The time it takes to process and return the results of a DBS check varies from area to area and the method you use to apply for it. Also, there are other factors that can slow down the time it takes to get your DBS certificate back.
If you submit your DBS check application using an online form, the average waiting time is 5 working days. Enhanced checks take longer than basic or standard checks as each police force located close to your previous addresses need to be contacted to check their files for any additional notes held on file.
If four weeks has elapsed and you still haven’t received your DBS certificate, then you can contact the DBS to chase it up if you urgently need to start your new role. If it’s not urgent, we recommend waiting a minimum of six weeks to give the DBS time, in case it just happens to be a busy period.
Why might my DBS check be delayed?
When you have submitted a DBS check application, there’s a chance that the certificate could take longer than four weeks to arrive, which could delay your start date at work.
There are numerous reasons why a DBS check might run late:
- Enhanced checks take longer to process due to extra checks
- High demand for DBS checks in your region
- A mistake or omission on your form (this can be avoided by using an online application form that prompts you to fill in all the boxes and checks your responses).
- The form or certificate has been lost in the post.
- Incorrect processing fee paid.
If you don’t receive your DBS certificate in time to start work, contact your new employer to explain the situation, then follow up with the DBS to find out when it is likely to arrive.
The easiest way to contact the DBS is by phone or email. You can find the relevant email address or phone number on the government website, here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service
Make alternative arrangements if possible
If your DBS check certificate is late in arriving, it’s always worth asking your employer if alternative arrangements can be made. Maybe you can start work and help cover a different role that doesn’t require a DBS check. Or perhaps they will allow you to push back the start date for a week or so. It’s always best to keep them informed about the situation, so don’t hesitate to let them know.
As long as you’re proactive and keeping your new employer in the loop, they should be more than happy to either wait it out or make alternative arrangements.
To find out more about DBS checks and how to apply for one online, get in touch with one of our helpful team members today.