Consequences of Employers Not Performing DBS Checks
One question we get asked a lot is “what happens if employers don’t request a DBS Check?”
There is no straightforward answer to that question, as it depends on a few different factors, including the nature of the role, the type and frequency of employment, and whether safeguarding elements are involved.
Safeguarding refers to measures that are put in place to protect the safety of children or vulnerable adults.
The law surrounding employers requesting DBS Checks
The consequences for employers who do not request that applicants get a DBS Check vary, depending on the role and regulations.
For many job roles and professions, DBS Checks are a legal requirement. If people want to gain employment or volunteer to work for a business or organisation that works in the care or supervision of children or vulnerable adults, then they need to be vetted by way of a criminal record check.
The criminal record check that is needed for regulated activities is an Enhanced DBS Check. A regulated activity is any role that involves direct, unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults on a frequent basis.
The requirement for an Enhanced DBS Check is set out in the Police Act 1997, which contains a list of jobs and professions that require high level screening. According to the legislation, the employer should also request a DBS barred list check of either the Children’s barred list, the adult’s barred list, or both.
As well as the Police Act 1997, there are two other main laws that cover the requirements for DBS Checks, which are the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
For some job roles and professions, there are regulatory bodies that govern the field of work. For instance schools, colleges, nurseries, and higher education providers are covered by the rules of Ofsted. Healthcare providers are covered by the rules and regulations of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Both of these governing bodies request that employers request applicants to get an Enhanced DBS Check before starting work in safeguarding critical roles.
Consequences of employers not requesting DBS Checks
The most severe implication for employers of not getting a DBS Check is that they may suffer legal action. This is especially true if they hire somebody who causes a danger or is shown to have potential to cause harm to a child or vulnerable adult whilst in the job role.
If the employer knowingly hired somebody for a regulated activity role who is on one or both DBS barred lists, then the employer will be guilty of a criminal offence.
The reputation of the employer will also suffer if it is found out that they hired somebody with the potential to cause harm to the staff, clients, residents, or customers. Harm can encompass both physical or emotional effects. Reputational damage is very hard for employers to restore, especially if they are found out to have unsafe recruiting practices.
For this reason, any person who applies to work with children and vulnerable adults should be vetted for a DBS Check. This also goes for any role that has a high moderate to high degree of responsibility.
If you are an employer or a job applicant who wants to know more about DBS Checks, including how our online application system works, then get in touch with one of our advisors today.