Are DBS Checks Really So Important?

Apply for a DBS Check

Even the most basic recruitment process will have some degree of background checking. Most applicants see background checks such as supplying references just another administrative hurdle to get through, or inconvenient paperwork. Applicants don’t often stop to think about whether all this background checking is important or not.

For many roles in healthcare, financial services or education, DBS checks are essential for both legal compliance reasons, and to make sure the applicant isn’t someone who might harm the business. If you are asked to apply for a DBS check, the company will usually guide you through the process from start to finish.


What is a DBS Check?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This is the government body which oversees the process of criminal records checking in England and Wales, and the resulting certificates are known as “DBS Checks”. There are three levels of DBS check:

  • Basic DBS check – this is the least detailed level of check, and the certificate will only show any unspent cautions or convictions on your record.
  • Standard DBS check – this check covers the same ground as the basic check, but also considers any spent convictions and cautions. Standard DBS checks can only be done in connection with specific roles and are usually requested in the financial services and legal sectors.
  • Enhanced DBS – this is the most detailed level of criminal records checking. As well as everything covered in a standard check, the enhanced disclosure will also include any other information which the police have about you and which they feel is relevant.


Regulatory Requirement

In many industries, carrying out DBS checks on members of staff isn’t just a policy, it’s a legal requirement. Companies and other organisations can face heavy fines if they don’t carry out checking properly, and these fines could easily push a smaller company into bankruptcy.

DBS checking is similar to establishing someone’s right to live and work in the UK, in that if companies ignore their legal obligations, they face fines. No business wants to find themselves on the wrong side of the law, which is just one reason why DBS checking is so important.


Worker Protection

Employers must also ensure that any workplace is safe for all employees and running criminal checks on new hires ensures you aren’t employing someone whose past might pose a risk to their colleagues. A DBS check might also throw up a part history of dishonesty or fraud, which can help protect the health of your business too.


Client Protection

A business which can’t deliver promised levels of service to its clients isn’t going to last long. DBS checks coupled with other forms of background checking such as checking references will minimise the risk of hiring a rogue employee who through incompetence or malice ruins relationships with your client base. Something like a leak of data from your customer database – whether intentional or accidental – can ruin your organisation’s standing in the community and it could take years to recover from the damage caused.