DBS checking employees – 6 tips to make sure you get it right

tips on DBS checking staffWhether you are a small or large business owner, it’s likely you will welcome any method that cuts down the level of effort and time needed to successfully perform a given activity.

Employee recruitment and security checks can be time-consuming and laborious, so it’s helpful to know whether there are quicker routes that will benefit you and your business.

The Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS, gives organisations the opportunity to identify who might, or might not, be a suitable employee, so many businesses now run a DBS check as a matter of course when recruiting staff.

The level of check depends on the applicant’s job role and whether the employer is eligible to request that level of check.

Doing a DBS check on new employees can help reduce fraud and protect your business, so it’s certainly worth considering using them as part of your recruitment process.

A Standard or Enhanced DBS Check can reveal whether an individual has received convictions, cautions, final warnings and reprimands as well as any barred list information where applicable.

The DBS is updating the way it performs its checks, and there may be some changes and shortcuts that you’re not aware of yet, so here are six handy tips that will help you to DBS check employees quickly and efficiently;

1. The individual DBS checking process is changing

The DBS are offering individuals the chance to obtain a DBS Basic Disclosure, this is a check of the UK Police National Computer and will show any convictions considered unspent.

In order to obtain a Basic Disclosure, individuals must have their identification verified to obtain their certificate. At present, identity verification can be done without them having to meet a member from a registered organisation in person.

From January 2018, this process is going to change. Individuals will be required to visit a DBS-registered organisation in person to confirm their identity.

This may create problems for both individual DBS applicants and third-party checking companies, who may not be able to meet applicants in person.

Therefore, individuals will have to apply directly to the government to obtain a DBS Basic Disclosure, as opposed to going through a registered third-party company.

Employers or Agencies can still apply directly to DBS-registered organisations to obtain DBS Basic Disclosures for their employees.

2. Some insurance policies require a DBS certificate

Before taking out insurance for your business, it is important to check whether your professional indemnity policy requires employers to have a DBS certificate for your type of organisation.

Some public liability insurance policies might also require a DBS certificate if your company involves regulated activities.

3. It is sometimes possible to hire before a DBS certificate arrives

If you are obtaining a check through a DBS-registered third-party organisation, the waiting time for a completed Standard or Enhanced DBS Check can be reduced.

However, there are circumstances where this time period may still be too long for a small business that highly depends on each employee.

Therefore, it might be useful to know that individuals can still be employed while their DBS certificate is pending.

There is a solution to this, but only if an applicant is working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults.

Formerly known as a POVA, a DBS Adult First Check is a service provided by the DBS that can be used in cases where, exceptionally, a person can start work with adults before a DBS Certificate has been obtained.

This service is only available to organisations who are eligible to access the DBS’s Adult barred list and who have requested a check of the barred list on their DBS application form.

The result of a DBS Adult First Check is typically returned within 48 hours but 2% can take 72 hours.

If the result of this check is clear, the individual can begin working under supervision of a fully checked member of staff, until the full DBS certificate is completed.

Those working with both children and vulnerable adults will need to wait for the full DBS Certificate to be returned to find out whether a person is barred from working with children. There is no equivalent quick check of the children’s barred list.

4. Make sure your DBS-checking organisation is legitimate

GOV.UK provides an up-to-date list of Registered Bodies and Responsible Organisations who are registered to submit applications for DBS checks, via an online service, on behalf of individuals and employers.

These RBs and ROs guarantee an accurate and honest service, providing information that is in line with DBS identity guidance.

Be wary of other non-registered organisations offering the same DBS checking service – such organisations are not permitted to apply online for DBS checks on behalf of others.

5. If an employee has lived outside the UK, they may need extra checks

The DBS can’t access criminal records overseas so their checks do not cover convictions or cautions that an individual has received in another country.

If an employee has lived overseas for 12 months or more, or is a foreign national, you can contact the embassy or High Commission for that country to have additional checks done.

You can visit the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) website for more information about obtaining criminal record checks abroad.

6. Keep tabs on your organisation’s regulated activities

“Regulated activities” is the term used by the DBS to describe job tasks that require an Enhanced Disclosure together with a check against the relevant barred lists.

Whether an activity is regulated or not could depend on the individuals they have contact with (children & vulnerable adults), the type of work involved (e.g. teaching, caring), and the setting (e.g. in a school, in a care home).

Regulated Activities are defined in DBS supporting legislation and therefore an employer must be eligible to request a barred list on an application. The DBS have various guidance documents on what activities and positions are eligible.

This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Sarah Thompson, Business Development Manager of uCheck. uCheck are the second largest provider of DBS checks in the UK, and also offer other types of Online Employment Screening including DVLA, Right to Work, Adverse Credit and Identity checks.

Last updated: 20th February, 2021

Combine all of your old pensions into one simple online plan

Sign up in 5 minutes - over 600,000 users, including the Bytestart team!

Superscript no-ties business insurance - pay monthly

Tailored just for you + pay monthly. You could be covered in just 10 minutes.

Tide Business Bank Account - £40 welcome bonus!

Exclusive for Bytestart readers + 12 months' free transfers. Find out more.

FreeAgent Online Accounting - 55% off - ByteStart exclusive!

Brilliant software. Get 55% of your first 6 months, then 10% for life.

Related articles

  • project management tips and advice

    The importance of roles and responsibilities in project management

    One of the key attributes of projects is that they are not structured in the same way as ordinary business departments. A number of people, possibly including contractors or consultants, are brought together to deliver…

  • job advert in newspaper

    Guide to writing job adverts – for small business owners

    Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies…

  • Retaining and rewarding key staff with EMI share options

    Incentivising and rewarding staff with an EMI share option scheme

    For many companies, staff retention is a key issue. Giving employees a slice of the business can foster a sense of ownership and can be a key element in retaining and rewarding them. Related guides:…