Many employers choose to conduct disclosure checks as a standard part of the recruitment process. Understanding more about the background of the people they are thinking of employing helps them make safer recruitment decisions and get a better fit for people joining their team.
Disclosure checks are only legally required for a restricted number of roles, but any employer can choose to run a basic check on anyone who works for them. Many employers choose to run DBS checks on people who are going to be working in positions which involve the workers having access to cash, or to the company’s sensitive information. DBS checks are processed in England and Wales by a government body called the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Levels of DBS Check
The three types of DBS check are basic, standard, and advanced. A basic check looks at a candidate’s current and unspent criminal record only, and will list convictions, cautions and reprimands. The standard and enhanced checks are more detailed and can reveal older convictions and cautions. Only employers who offer jobs in specific roles can ask an employee for a standard or enhanced check. Applicants for DBS checks will also have to provide some key identity documents so that the employer can ensure that they are who they say they are. There is no date of expiry on a DBS certificate, so it’s up to the employer to set their own criteria for renewal. Usually, most employers run DBS checks again after 3 to 5 years.
Rights of Applicants Undergoing DBS Checks
There are lots of rules and laws around DBS checks. Employers must conform to the laws around which workers require checks and cannot legally ask about spent convictions in most circumstances. Unless a job requires enhanced or standard disclosure, applicants don’t legally need to tell employers about spent convictions either. If a standard or enhanced disclosure is needed, then it’s probably wise to tell them about what might be revealed on a check.
Record Keeping Requirement
Every time a DBS is carried out, a certificate is sent out in the post to the applicant. This is the applicant’s certificate to keep. Usually, all employers can ask is to see the certificate, and note the information and the certificate number. If the applicant doesn’t want to take their certificate back, it should be carefully shredded.
Data Protection laws apply to DBS checks just as they do to any other class of sensitive personal data. The information on a DBS certificate can be very sensitive, and employers should manage this with discretion, ensuring that only the key people involved in recruitment have access to it. There should never be a scenario whereby colleagues are aware of the background of everyone in the office. Good employers should have a policy about how they will handle and protect your personal data, and usually this involves either a locked filing cabinet, or restricted access to computer files. Employers who don’t conform to the laws around keeping personal data securely can face heavy fines.