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DBS Checks – What, Why, and How?

Date Published: December 12, 2022 | Last Updated: February 14, 2024 | By Jessica Veal
Whether you’re undergoing pre-employment screening, or in the HR team and hiring a new employee, it’s important to know the facts about DBS checks.

If you’re new to DBS checks, remember that in many cases they are necessary for industry compliance. Whilst they are used in the recruitment process, they can also be routinely necessary in certain job roles. If this is the case in your situation, click here for more information on employee re-screening.

Here, we’ll run through what DBS checks are, why they’re necessary, what’s included, and more.

What does DBS stand for?

The DBS is the Disclosure and Barring Service. This executive non-departmental body is in place to help employers make safer recruitment decisions.

What is a DBS check?

In the UK, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are used to confirm whether a candidate has any records of convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings.

What’s included in a criminal record background check will depend on which of the three types of DBS check is run (basic, standard or enhanced).

The more comprehensive the check is, the tighter the restriction on when it can be run it. For many sectors it can be a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain a criminal record check before employing candidates for certain posts or jobs. In other instances, such checks are used to assess general suitability for the job.

Why do people get DBS checked?

DBS checks are typically carried out on employees, or soon-to-be employees. Basic criminal background checks can be done on most individuals for any position, but there are also specific jobs and positions where more comprehensive background or DBS check are standard practice.

What jobs require a DBS check?

Many employers seek a DBS check prior to an employment contract. However, the sectors most likely to include more comprehensive checks are:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Finance
  • IT
  • Care

Who are DBS checks designed to protect?

DBS checks are carried out in order to avoid risk in new hires and have confidence in new and existing employees. As part of the overall vetting process, it’s a useful tool to protect vulnerable people and assets – children, vulnerable adults, money, data and systems.

What will be disclosed on a Basic DBS check?

The basic disclosure is the lowest form of criminal-record check containing only unspent convictions only. It can be applied to anyone, at any time, for any reason.

What will be disclosed on a Standard DBS check?

Standard Disclosure checks list spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. You can only run this check on candidates applying for specific financial, legal, medical and other regulated positions.

What will be disclosed on an Enhanced DBS check?

Enhanced Disclosure checks are generally only available for positions that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. These checks contain all standard disclosure data and include locally held police information.

How do you know what level of DBS check I need?

To assist those exploring DBS checks for certain job positions, the DBS has created a guide to eligibility for standard certificates. Click here to view.

What are the differences between CRB and DBS checks?

Since the publication of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), were merged in 2012 and given the new title of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). There is no difference between a CRB and DBS check.

Click here to explore our DBS services further. If you are interested in learning how background screening services can benefit your business, get in touch with our experts for a tailored discussion on your individual requirements: ukenquiries@accurate.com.