Over the past decade, many different schemes have sprung up to recommend tradespeople to work in our homes. If you are in a situation where you need a plumber or carpenter but haven’t got any personal recommendations from friends and family, then these websites offer a way of drawing on a wider community to find someone trusted in your local area. All of the schemes differ in the way they check out who is allowed to register on their website. Some might not run any checks at all, and just list everyone who pays the fees. Others will require membership of a professional body or ask workers to apply for a DBS check, previously known as a CRB check.
Obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is essential for individuals joining as traders in partnership with Which? Trusted Traders, one of the best-known and most respected schemes in the UK.
What is a DBS or CRB Check?
DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring and describes the process which the police use to issue certificates about someone’s criminal record in England and Wales. There are three levels of check, which increase in detail. The most detailed levels of checking are reserved for people who are working in named occupations which involve legal and financial responsibility or working in close proximity to children or vulnerable adults.
Traders, and indeed anyone working in any job, can request a basic DBS check at any time. A Basic DBS check will reveal someone’s unspent convictions and cautions and should reassure customers that the person they are inviting into their home is not a serial criminal. Tradespeople, even those who go into schools to paint or repair the heating, do not qualify for a more detailed level of criminal record checking. In some areas, Trading Standards will also have a process for criminal records checking for people and companies wishing to be registered on their site as a trustworthy person to work with.
How Do I Apply?
If you are required to apply for a criminal record check as part of your registration with a body such as Trading Standards or Which, that body should be able to guide you through the process. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, you will apply through a separate organisation, but the process is very similar.
Getting a Basic Disclosure check is not difficult, and just involves filling in a form online and paying the processing fee. The form will ask for your basic personal details such as name, date of birth and address history, and applicants are also asked to disclose any criminal convictions and cautions which they know are still current. Having a minor criminal conviction or caution is not going to automatically rule you out from being accredited by these schemes, as the decision will be made based on individual circumstance and situations. Going through the DBS process and being listed on one of the websites people use for trusted traders should bring you more business so it is an investment worth making.