Can You Transfer DBS Checks Between Jobs or Roles?
DBS checks are becoming common for many job roles and voluntary positions. Many people are interested to find out whether DBS checks are transferable.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer. There are many factors involved in deciding whether the DBS check can move with you when you change roles or move to a new company.
Also, another common question is – “Can I use one, single DBS check to apply for several positions?”
In this article, we’re going to go through each factor one by one and hope to answer the question and clear up any confusion around the subject.
Applying for more than one job role or position
The main factor here is – are the different job positions identical, or similar enough that they will require the same level of check.
For example, let’s say you are applying for jobs that involve working as a bus driver, if you are driving a general public bus you will probably only need a standard DBS check, but if it’s a school bus, you’ll need an enhanced check. In other words, you cannot use the same DBS check for both roles.
The reason is that roles involving working with children (such as a school bus driver) need a higher level of check to ensure that safeguarding requirements are met.
Also, let’s say you’re applying for a role as janitor in a school, but also a school bus driver. Again, one DBS check will not be enough. Although both roles will require an enhanced DBS check, the driving one will require that the police share any notes related to driving history, arrests for dangerous driving for instance, whereas the other role would not.
There are more obvious examples of roles that are so different that they require completely different DBS check levels. For instance, a person applying for a job as either a shop assistant (basic DBS check) or teaching assistant (enhanced DBS check with barred list), will definitely not be able to transfer the certificate.
In fact, it’s actually illegal for companies to request an enhanced DBS check with barred list if the role does not require it, i.e. it is not a regulated activity, as defined by the DBS. The reason is that it would not be appropriate for a supermarket to view detailed information about an employee’s criminal background if there is no requirement for the job role.
In other words – if you are applying for one or more job position, they must all be identical if you want to use the same type of DBS check for each application.
Making a decision as an employer
If the job roles being applied for are all identical and the individual has a valid DBS certificate, then it’s up to the employer whether they will accept the existing DBS certificate or request a new one.
There are several factors to consider for employers:
- Date certificate was issued – One of the most important considerations when deciding whether to accept an existing DBS certificate with a job application is the age of the certificate. The older the DBS certificate is, the more likely it is that the individual may have had a brush with the law that will leave a mark on their criminal record. In other words, the certificate becomes obsolete quite quickly after it has been issued. The only exception to this is if the person has signed up to the DBS renewal scheme which automatically updates the certificate.
- Company background check policy – More and more companies have a background check, DBS, or safeguarding policy in place, depending on the nature of the business. If the employer has a policy in place it should define whether they will accept transferred DBS check certificates. If the policy states that these are not acceptable, then the applicant will need to apply for a new DBS check, regardless of whether the positions are exactly the same.
- Regulatory requirements – When it comes to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, there are stringent laws and regulations in place to govern background checks. For instance, any job that involves regular, unsupervised contact with children will require an enhanced DBS check with barred list.
When it comes to transferring DBS checks between roles or using the same DBS certificate to apply for multiple jobs, unfortunately, there isn’t a single yes or no answer.
The decision of whether the same DBS certificate depends very much on the nature of work, the company or employer’s policy, and whether there are any regulations in place.
If the company accepts portable DBS certificates, their policy and regulations allow it, and the roles being applied for are identical, then the employer may allow you to use one DBS check for each application.
To find out more about DBS certificates or to ask any questions about transferring them, get in touch with one of our expert advisors today.