DBS Checks for Employers: 5 Common Questions Answered

At CRB Check Online we answer lots of questions about DBS checks for employers who carry out checks on their staff.

To make things easier for everyone, we thought we’d gather some of the most common questions together and answer them all in one handy guide.

DBS checks for employers

So without further ado, here are the answers to five common questions about DBS checks for employers.

Who is eligible for a DBS check?

DBS checks exist to help organisations make safe recruitment decisions, and to prevent anyone from doing a job they are unsuitable to do.

As a general rule, any employee or volunteer who will be working in ‘regulated activity’ with children or vulnerable adults will be eligible for a DBS check. More specifically, roles that are included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 will be eligible.

See the next question for more information about DBS check eligibility, or check out the government’s DBS guide to eligibility.

What are the different types of DBS check?

There are two different types of DBS check: a standard disclosure and an enhanced disclosure. If the applicant is entitled to an enhanced disclosure they may also be required to undergo a check of the barred lists. This checks the applicant to see if they have been barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

  • Standard check: reveals any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings the applicant has. Roles included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act are eligible for a standard DBS check.
  • Enhanced check: reveals the same information as a standard check, as well as any other relevant information held by the applicant’s local police force. To be eligible for an enhanced check, a role must be included in both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations.
  • Enhanced with barred lists check: reveals the same information as an enhanced check, and also checks whether the applicant is on the relevant barred list. To be eligible for a check of the barred list, the role must be eligible for an enhanced check and involve working in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Do DBS checks expire?

No, there’s no official expiry date for a DBS check. However, the information revealed by the DBS check will only truly be accurate on the date the certificate is issued.

There’s no expiration date because the subject of the check could receive a conviction at any time after the check is carried out.

It’s considered best practice to have DBS checks renewed every one to three years to help ensure the continued safety of the vulnerable groups the people in question work with.

Ofsted and the CQC have their own requirements in place for how often DBS checks must be renewed. If your organisation is regulated under either of those bodies, make sure you’re aware of their terms and conditions.

What should I do if an applicant has a criminal record?

DBS checks should only be used to ascertain whether an applicant is suitable to work in a role which requires them to undertake that level of check.

Whether it’s because they’re working in regulated activity with a vulnerable group or because of where they’re working (rather than what they’re actually doing), they may still require a DBS disclosure for safeguarding purposes.

If a job applicant has a conviction, keep an open mind and think carefully about whether it’s relevant to the position and if it affects the role in question.

An applicant’s criminal record should only affect your recruitment decision if the nature of the offence affects their suitability for the role, or they’re not safe to be doing that role.

It’s against the law to reject a job applicant because of their criminal record if it’s irrelevant to the role.

How do I apply for a DBS check?

Applicants cannot apply for DBS checks on themselves – this must be done by their employer or relevant organisation.

Our online system is the most up-to-date in the UK for providing DBS checks for employers.

Applying for DBS checks via our online system is quick, easy and affordable. Once you’ve registered with us, it takes less than five minutes to request a check, and most are complete within 48 hours.

It’s free to sign up, and you only pay for the checks you need.

DBS checks for employers: a summary

We hope our handy guide has answered your questions. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us today – our friendly team is always on hand to help.

Ready to go? Get started now and start requesting DBS checks via our online system.