The 10th anniversary of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

23 January 2023 | Shabir Karatella

An employer can ask a candidate for a basic check which provides very brief details of any unspent convictions. Alternatively, they can apply for it themselves with the consent of the candidate. An employer can apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS checks for specified types of roles. An employer may be required to carry out a standard or enhanced DBS check either if you are recruiting someone to a regulated profession (eg law) or because of the nature of the job (eg involving children or vulnerable persons). Check the DBS website for more details.

How to carry out checks?

You can ask the DBS for a basic check online if you need to conduct a criminal record check and the applicant has consented. It costs £18 and provides a summary of convictions that have not been "spent." The certificate often takes up to 14 days to arrive. The applicant must provide the following in order to apply for the basic check:

                              - Details of all addresses they have lived at (with dates) in the last 5yrs.

                              - Their National Insurance number.

                              - Passport.

                              - Driving licence.

The online procedure can be found on the website Request a basic DBS check - GOV.UK

Employers should be aware of their data protection obligations after conducting, holding, and processing the check results. Employers are advised to have a written policy document outlining how you ensure your compliance with data protection law, and explaining your approach. This document should include information about your data protection policy, who will have access to the information, who will process it, whether the information will be shared with anyone, how long it will be held for, when it will be destroyed, and other pertinent information. Employers must adhere to data protection regulations. Visit the website of the Information Commissioners Office to learn more: Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

Employers should keep a record of the DBS check results (ie whether it is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, rather than the detail of any convictions). Once it has been confirmed by the DBS check, all additional information about criminal convictions gathered throughout the hiring process should be deleted. More specific information must only be kept in extremely rare situations where it is obviously pertinent to your continued employment of the subject.

This article is intended as a guide. Employers are advised to call the dedicated HR helpline for specific advice and guidance on 0116 274 9193

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