Prison Workers – A Guide TO DBS Check Requirements
You will need to pass a DBS check to work in a prison. After all, most prison roles place you in a position of trust and in some roles you’ll be working with vulnerable adults – those with mental health problems for instance. But don’t forget that there are different levels of DBS check and not all prison employee roles require that highest level.
This article will take a look at the kind of job roles you might find in a prison and what levels of DBS check may be required.
What type of DBS check is needed for various prison worker roles?
The Disclosure and Barring Service in the UK define two types of activity that employers need to consider when it comes to doing background checks. Here is a brief explanation of each and how they relate to prison service roles.
A regulated activity is any activity that involves working directly and unsupervised with vulnerable people. Any role that includes this type of activity will require an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List Check – the highest level of DBS check available.
In terms of prison employee roles, regulated activities would include things like providing healthcare and social work to prisoners, as well as prison guards that supervise prisoner’s movements and spend time alone with prisoners.
A non-regulated activity is one that doesn’t involve direct, unsupervised contact with vulnerable groups.
Prison workers that do not work directly with prisoners in an unsupervised capacity such as kitchen or library supervisors, cleaners, IT staff, etc. perform non-regulated activities and as such will only require a Standard or Enhanced DBS check. If the role involves coming into contact with prisoners more than a couple of times a month, it is better to opt for an Enhanced DBS check rather than a Standard one.
Some roles that involve no contact with prisoners will only require a Basic check, such as delivery drivers. A Basic DBS check is needed in the example of delivery drivers to ensure good character, as criminals may use the opportunity to smuggle drugs into a prison.
Working with young offenders – a special note on DBS requirements
Working in a prison that holds young offenders or juveniles usually means slightly stricter DBS check requirements. Juveniles are perceived to be more vulnerable than adults in general. Therefore the level of DBS check required is usually higher.
Working with young offenders in an unsupervised capacity such as a guard, healthcare provider, or social worker, will require an Enhanced DBS check with Barred List. Other regulated activities that require an enhanced check with barred list include instructing, teaching, guiding, training, or transporting young offenders.
In young offender institutions, roles that involve non-regulated activities will still require an Enhanced DBS check, but not necessarily a barred list check. Even contract staff that work in the institution, but only infrequently interact with prisoners, such as kitchen staff, must hold an up-to-date Enhanced DBS check.
Prison workers in a juvenile institution that have no direct contact with prisoners at all may only require a Standard DBS check, delivery drivers, or maintenance contractors, for instance.
Make sure you get the right DBS checks for prison workers
Prisoners are classed as a vulnerable group, especially young offenders. Incarcerated people still have human rights and one of those rights is to be protected from abuse by those in a position of trust.
That’s why there are specific guidelines for performing background checks on prison employees. You can find these in HMP guidance and policies which are available on request.
Alternatively, you can speak to one of our team and we can guide you on the type of DBS checks needed for prison workers.