If you are in the process of applying for a job with a specific organisation, it can come as a bit of a shock when you’re asked to submit your DBS information through an entirely different company. There are many reasons why this might happen, and it doesn’t automatically mean that your employer is trying to scam you. It could be that they are using a third party “responsible organisation” to help with the administration of checks.
Why use a third-party responsible organisation?
There are all sorts of laws and rules around the processing of DBS checks. One of the main restrictions is around regulated activity, or the types of jobs which require the more detailed level of DBS check. Standard and enhanced checks can only be carried out for specific job roles which constitute this regulated activity, and only registered organisations can apply for the checks. These are the “responsible organisations”. Big employers like the NHS or county councils who recruit nurses, carers or teachers will be responsible organisations in their own right. But there are lots of smaller agencies supplying carers or running children’s sports courses which aren’t large enough to submit the volume of applications required for responsible organisation status. People applying for roles with these smaller companies will be directed to another responsible organisation instead.
What does the responsible organisation do?
A responsible organisation takes charge of the entire DBS process from start to finish. Employers start by directing their new members of staff to the responsible organisation, which manages the entire process from helping the applicants fill in the forms correctly and checking their identity documents through to chasing up the certificates as they progress through the system.
From an applicant’s point of view, there are lots of advantages to using a responsible organisation rather than getting your DBS check through your employer. Employers are rarely big enough to have one person who just deals with DBS checks, so they will have lots of other responsibilities too. Members of staff also get sick, or go on holiday, but at a responsible body there is always someone at the end of the phone. Advice and expertise are often better too, as people working in a responsible organisation do nothing but process DBS checks and come across a huge range of circumstances.
Will the responsible organisation see my criminal record?
DBS certificates are always sent out to the person who has made the application, not to their employer or a responsible body. This gives you the opportunity to check over the certificate to ensure it is free of errors before showing it to your boss. Responsible organisations and employers are bound by GDPR legislation governing data protection, which should mean that anything you do tell them about your criminal record remains confidential. Remember also that there are very few jobs which will put an absolute ban on anyone with a criminal record, and most employers will take a wide range of factors into consideration before deciding who gets the job.