One of the least understood aspects of the DBS check system is the different levels of check available. In short, there are three different levels of checks: basic, standard and enhanced. You don’t get to choose what type of check you’d like to have. The type of disclosure check depends on the role you do and the responsibilities. Most people get a DBS check when they apply for a new job, and your employer should know what sort of check you should have. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the bodies which look after disclosure checks have different names. Despite this, they perform a broadly similar function.
Basic DBS Checks
This is the least detailed level of check. Unlike the other two checks, you can request a DBS check on yourself, and employers can ask for it whatever the type of job. A basic DBS check is a way of confirming what is on your current criminal record. It won’t show any convictions or cautions which are legally listed as “spent”. This terminology is all about the Rehabilitation of Offenders legislation, which allows people to leave crimes behind them after a certain period of time. The time period depends on the type of crime and the age of the person at the time of the offence. If you think this might apply to you, there are lots of calculators online to help you work out if an old brush with the police is forgotten or not.
Standard DBS Checks
The next level of checking is the standard check. This builds on the basic check in that it looks at current, unspent convictions but also looks at older information too. Standard DBS checks are usually required for positions involving financial responsibility, or in the court system. Companies want to be able to weed out people who have been in trouble in the past for crimes which might call their character into question.
Enhanced DBS Checks
The most detailed level of check is the enhanced check. Enhanced checks are for people who are going to be working in healthcare, or with elderly people or children. Because these people are going to be working with the most vulnerable groups in society, their entire record is considered when the police decide what to disclose. In addition, the police have the right to disclose “intelligence” which they hold on file, but which hasn’t led to a conviction. This could be particularly relevant when, for example, someone linked with lots of fraud or theft offences applies for a job in a residential care home.
The final part of the DBS’s remit is the “Barring” part of their name. The Home Office holds a list of people who have been banned by a judge from working in certain positions. This ban is usually made at the same time as a sentence for a serious violent or sexual offence. It’s against the law for someone on a barred list to apply for a job needing an enhanced DBS check.