Over the years the system for running police checks on people in the UK has changed several times. You’ll still hear people talking about CRB checks even though the Criminal Records Bureau ceased to exist ten years ago. A further complication is that due to different legal systems, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different bodies responsible for criminal records checking. Even within the DBS, the system for checking is constantly evolving and making improvements. All this change and confusion means that lots of people don’t really understand what jobs need a DBS check, and which don’t. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t that clear and the answer will depend on what level of check is being proposed.
Basic DBS Checks
One of the more recent changes to the DBS system is allowing people or employers to ask for a basic DBS check. This was always possible in Scotland, but is a new thing for people living in England and Wales. A basic DBS check is, as the name suggests, the least detailed level of checking. A basic DBS certificate will list your current police record only. It will show all convictions and cautions which are not classed as “spent” under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Any type of job can ask you to have a Basic DBS check. It’s up to employers what they do, and each has a different policy. Many choose to take employees at their word rather than go to the expense of running DBS checks. Chasing references and speaking to former employers is cheaper, and gives just a good indication of someone’s character.
Standard DBS Checks
Unlike a basic check, employers can only ask for standard DBS checks in connection with a specific job. Most jobs which need a standard DBS checks are official positions in the legal and financial services industry. Whether you need a check will depend on your level in the organisation. Someone working in a bank’s call centre may not need any DBS check at all, as they have little or no access to customers’ money. However, staff working at a more senior level or handling large sums of cash in a bank branch are a different matter. This is also the type of check needed for lawyers, people who work in the courts system, traffic wardens and so on.
Enhanced DBS Checks
The most detailed level of checking is reserved for jobs involving vulnerable people. Many people think that enhanced DBS checks only apply to those working with children, but the legislation also covers patients in hospital, disabled people and the elderly. An enhanced DBS certificate will show any information on police record which might be relevant to their work, whether it’s very old or not. This is the sort of check you will need for any role working in a school, hospital or care home. It also covers roles where people go into clients’ homes to provide care. Enhanced DBS checks also apply to volunteers or paid workers in children’s after school clubs, organisations like Brownies or sporting groups.