The truth behind DBS check myths
Plenty of myths, misunderstandings, fallacies and plain untruths surround the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). These start with its name – it is still commonly referred to as the Criminal Records Bureau, even though it has replaced this body, and also the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Here are some of the most common myths.
Myth 1: If you have a criminal record, you can forget about getting the job
The truth: Not all jobs require applicants to undergo a DBS check. Some employers ask all applicants to do so as part of best operating practice. Others are under a legal obligation to check that potential employees have not been barred from working in regulated activities with vulnerable adults or children.
Myth 2: Organisations are not allowed to employ anyone with a criminal record
The truth: In some circumstances, certain individuals are not allowed either to work or undertake voluntary activities in a regulated activity or with vulnerable adults or children. Knowing when this prohibition applies can be confusing, but NACRO is an excellent resource.
Myth 3: DBS checks show up all convictions and cautions
The truth: Standard DBS checks show spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. Enhanced DBS checks show the same information as a standard check, with the addition of any relevant information held by the local police. Enhanced with barred lists checks show those individuals who are barred from working with vulnerable adults and / or children. New basic DBS checks are in the pipeline for late January 2018. These will show unspent convictions and conditional cautions.
Myth 4: Individuals must apply for their own DBS checks
The truth: Individuals cannot make their own applications for DBS checks. Only employers, potential employers, voluntary organisations or bodies like carecheck.co.uk can apply for these checks.
Myth 5: DBS checks have an expiry date
The truth: There is no automatic expiry date that applies to DBS checks. It is up to individual companies and organisations to determine how frequently they run DBS checks. It is usually regarded as best practice to do so after a certain period of time has elapsed, in order to ensure no individual has received a conviction, caution or warning since the initial check was run. Ideally, regular DBS checks should be formalised in employment contracts, staff handbooks and recruitment policies.