For most people, a criminal records check is only something you will come up against when applying for a new position. People who want to work in a wide range of occupations might be required by law to have a disclosure check, but there is also a less-detailed check which is open to everyone. Although it doesn’t give as much information as the other levels of checking, there are still lots of reasons why employers, self-employed people and workers might consider a basic DBS check.
What Does a Basic DBS Show?
Unlike the more detailed criminal records checks, a basic disclosure check shows your current and unspent criminal record only. In this context, “spent” is a legal term, and refers to UK Rehabilitation legislation. It’s fairly complex, but in general terms, it means that after a certain period of time, any past convictions or cautions are forgotten in the eyes of the law. The length of this time period varies depending on the sort of offence, what sentence you received, and how old you were at the time. Some of the more serious offences will never reach the stage of being spent.
A basic DBS certificate will show your name, address and date of birth, and then list any of your current convictions or cautions. If there’s nothing to show, the section will be blank. Many people use their basic DBS check as a type of character reference, to prove they are reputable and honest, and the sort of person who you’d trust to employ as a cleaner or run a voluntary group. Employers might ask for a basic DBS check too, especially if they are employing people in a position where they will have access to money in the till, or keys to the premises. If you do have older convictions which are considered spent then you are not obliged to tell your employer about them at all.
Getting a Basic DBS Check
The process for getting a DBS check is the same, whether you are applying for a Basic DBS check for your own purposes, or have been asked to get one by an employer. If your employer has asked you to get a disclosure, then usually they will guide you through the process. Alternatively, go online and start the application yourself. There are a few stages to the process, but the first is the application form. This isn’t complicated but take care to read it carefully and complete exactly as directed. If you have any questions, get clarification rather than trying to guess. Once the form is complete, you will be asked to verify your identity, to make sure that the details you’ve entered on the form are yours, and not someone else’s.
The easiest way of verifying your identity is by using the government’s online portal, which matches trusted information such as your passport number or driving licence information which you’ve entered with the government database. The system will also look at things like the electoral register, to make sure you live at the address you’ve submitted.