Pros & Cons of DBS Checks
Many jobs and voluntary positions ask applicants to complete a DBS check before starting in a role these days.
All jobs that involve working with children or vulnerable adults require a DBS check at either the basic, standard, enhanced level.
However, a growing number of recruiters and employers are asking for DBS checks whether the role involves working with vulnerable groups or not. This article will explore some of the reasons why employers or individuals may want to get a DBS check done, and what the advantages and disadvantages are.
What Is A DBS Check?
In simple terms, a DBS check involves searching a person’s criminal record and reporting offences and convictions within a set period of time.
3 levels of DBS check exist:
- Basic – returns details of unspent convictions and conditional conditions. Any individual can apply for a Basic DBS check by post or online.
- Standard – sames as basic, but also checks for spent convictions and spent cautions, warnings, and reprimands. Standard DBS checks must be applied for by an employer, or other third party, on behalf of the individual.
- Enhanced – sames as standard, but also returns details of any additional police information and searches the DBS barred list. Enhanced DBS checks must be applied for by an employer, or other third party, on behalf of the individual.
The most common occupations that request DBS checks are those that work with children, vulnerable adults, or handling finances or confidential information – schools, hospitals, banks, care homes, etc.
Pros and Cons of DBS Checks
If you’re thinking of applying for a new job that may require a DBS check you may be interested in the advantages and disadvantages. Likewise, if you’re an employer that hires staff or you’re a recruiter, this section will help you to understand the pros and cons of DBS checks.
Also, this section will help to explain why some companies ask for DBS checks as company policy, even those that don’t work with vulnerable groups of people.
Advantages of DBS Checks
- Higher Quality Applicants – Companies and organisations that request DBS checks as standard procedure report an increase in the quality of applicants. The fact that a DBS check is requested deters applicants from hiding things about their past during the interview process, thus preventing potential problems later on in their employment.
- Employer Security – DBS checks give employers peace of mind that they are hiring staff that don’t have any convictions related to the role. This also protects employers against liability if accusations are made against an individual by clients or other organisations.
- Safety – The safety of the workplace is improved when employees have undergone DBS checks. This is especially true in roles that involve working with vulnerable groups, handling sensitive information, or dealing with finances. DBS checks can also help employers to avoid hiring people with violent tendencies.
- Improved Staff Retention & Cost Savings – DBS checks help to reduce staff turnover as employers are more likely to hire people suited to the job position. This will save money in the long run as longer term employees are more productive, are less likely to be absent from work, and are less likely to cause problems in the workplace.
- Regulation Compliance – Some positions, especially those working in contact with children and vulnerable adults, legally require employers to hire people without relevant convictions. Companies that hire ineligible can be prosecuted and, in many cases, fined. If this happens, companies may also incur additional losses through increased insurance premiums.
Disadvantages of DBS Checks
- Cost – DBS checks aren’t cheap, especially if you have a large workforce. We can process 1 x application or 100 x applications, either way we have systems in place to ensure that the process is smooth for you here.
- Privacy Concerns – Most people don’t like actions or requests that invade their privacy, even if they have nothing to hide. Therefore, some people may take offense to being requested to complete a DBS application. Companies may put off talented applicants for this reason.
- Fear of Inaccuracies – Although DBS checks are generally very active, there is always the possibility of mistakes being made. If a company has been affected by a DBS check error in the past, they may consider it a costly risk.
- Unfair or Discriminatory – DBS checks may cause an employer to refuse employment to good candidates based on their history, whether they have reformed their character or not. Some people claim that DBS checks create an unfair bias against people with imperfect criminal records.
- Length of Time – Usually, a Basic DBS check certificate will be returned within 3-5 working days and a Enhanced DBS Check within four weeks of an application, sometimes within two weeks. However, this can take longer if there are inconsistencies, mistakes, or problems with the application form. Long waits can negatively affect both employers and employees. An online application can speed up the process as it is quicker than applying by post.
If you compare the pros and cons of applying for DBS checks, it’s clear to most people that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. However, it is not a perfect system and there are downsides.
The fact is, more and more employers are beginning to request DBS checks as a standard company policy, with many required to do so by law.
If you want to find out more about DBS checks, including how you can apply online, get in touch with one of our team today.