How To Carry Out A Criminal Record Check On Your Employees
Hiring the wrong people can be costly, both in terms of direct financial cost to the business, but also the cost of any reputation damage that may result from it. That’s why so many employers choose to carry out criminal record background checks on applicants and new recruits these days. In the UK, criminal record checks are handled by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
What Are DBS Checks?
DBS Checks involve a search through an individual’s criminal record on the Police National Computer (PNC). Depending on the level of check, some or all convictions that are present on the file will be highlighted on a DBS certificate.
There are three levels of DBS check:
Basic DBS Check
The Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of criminal background check. The Basic DBS Check searches for and reveals only unspent convictions. Some examples of jobs that may require a Basic DBS Check are scrap metal sellers, shop assistants, bar tenders, etc. A growing number of countries are requesting a Basic DBS Check before issuing a travel visa these days.
A Basic DBS Check can be requested by the individual or the prospective employer and it can be applied for online. It normally takes around 48 hours for the application to be processed and around 2 weeks to receive the DBS certificate.
Standard DBS Check
The Standard DBS Check involves a search for both spent and unspent convictions. It also reveals any warnings, reprimands, or cautions that are held on file. The types of role that may require a Standard DBS Check are those in areas such as:
- Banking or other financial services
- Healthcare or dental
- Veterinary practitioners
- Therapists or counsellors
- Contractors working in regulated activity environments
Individuals are not allowed to apply for Standard DBS Checks by themselves. The application must be verified and submitted by the employer, organisation, or registered body. A Standard DBS Check can take up to eight weeks to be processed and returned.
Enhanced DBS Check
The Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of criminal background check in the UK. It covers the same areas as the Standard DBS Check in terms of the convictions in highlights. The main difference is that an Enhanced DBS Check searches the PNC for any notes or information that has been recorded on file that may be relevant to the position.
For instance, somebody may have had charges brought against them for mistreating a child, which were later dropped. It is important to flag this up as it could be a potential safeguarding issue and will require more investigation by the employer.
The types of job that usually require an Enhanced DBS Check include:
- Education – teachers, coaches, etc.
- Healthcare workers with direct unsupervised contact with vulnerable people
- Social workers
The DBS defines certain roles as “regulated activities” which usually involve working in close contact with children or vulnerable adults. Regulated activities always require an Enhanced DBS Check, along with a barred list check, which checks the person’s details against the DBS list of people prohibited from working with vulnerable people.
An Enhanced DBS Check takes up to eight weeks to process and return, on average.
Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List
If the role being applied for is defined as a regulated activity then it will require a barred list check, as well as an Enhanced DBS check.
The barred lists are a record of people that are banned from working with children or vulnerable adults due to the nature of past offences. The barred lists are kept up-to-date by the DBS and individual’s names and details remain on there for life. There are two separate lists – the children’s barred list and the adult’s barred list. The DBS will often check both when processing an application for a barred list check.
The Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List takes up to eight weeks to process and return, on average.
Do DBS Checks Expire?
DBS Checks expire as soon as they are issued. The reason for this is that the DBS check is only accurate on the day of issue, as any offences that an individual is convicted for after that date will not show up on the certificate.
Therefore, employers should make sure that they update DBS checks frequently, with most employers requesting an update once every year or two.
Find Out More About DBS Checks & Apply Online
To discover how we can help you to meet all your DBS check needs, including a fast and easy online application process, contact us today.