Everything You Wanted Know About Criminal Record Checks

Everything You Wanted Know About Criminal Record Checks

You may have heard of background referred to as CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks and this is what they used to be called. Now DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks are completed to learn about an individual’s relevant history with the police. There are varying levels from basic to enhanced depending on the role you are applying for. They are used to aid employers in choosing the right person for the job.

DBS checks must be made where there are safeguarding issues in a workplace. Anyone working with vulnerable people or volunteering with children and vulnerable adults must have adequate background checks by law. For more information surrounding who needs a DBS Check, visit http://www.carecheck.co.uk

An organisation can ask that all staff and volunteers complete one of these checks if the post in which they will be operating is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. For roles that aren’t exempt, employers can still request a Basic DBS. Due to the nature of the checks, it’s not possible for an individual to request a standard or enhanced DBS check for themselves. It has to be a request from a potential employer or volunteering organisation. Individuals can, however, apply for a basic check through a registered organisation in England and Wales.

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What does each level of check show?

Basic Check – These can be asked for by an individual or company for any job role or volunteering experience. The checks show all unspent convictions. An unspent conviction is any sentence that is currently still ongoing.

Standard Check – These are available only for eligible jobs where the work involves access to vulnerable individuals or sensitive information like finance and security roles. It will show any unspent convictions but also cautions, warnings, reprimands or spent convictions.

Enhanced Check – The same conditions apply as for standard checks but will show any unspent convictions, warnings, reprimands, cautions, spent convictions and cautions not eligible for filtering. Further information held by the Police will also be included if it’s considered pertinent to the recruitment for the job role.

Filtering is a process whereby certain convictions or cautions can be removed from having to appear on the final document. Current legislation determines whether or not a conviction has to be declared and there are some exemptions, where a conviction is older than 11 years or did not result in a custodial sentence for example.

Enhanced with DBS Barred List Checks – The highest level of check is required where people will be working with vulnerable people in a regulated activity. It contains all the information listed in the above checks but will also contain information held on the barred list.

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Do they have a time limit?

In reality, a DBS check is only 100% accurate the day it is carried out. Therefore, there is no official expiry date or renewal requirements. A good rule of thumb is for a check to be carried out every 2-3 years. Individual companies might also have their own guidelines in place for when employees should be checked again.


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