Levels of DBS Checks
There are three primary levels of criminal record checks available to organisations for their employees:
These simply detail unspent convictions. Commonly termed as anything recent and/or serious.
Eligibility: Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for a basic DBS check. You don’t need to meet any criteria. Individuals can request this level of check themselves.
Examples of why requested: job applications, visa applications, or applying for a personal licence to sell alcohol.
These detail any spent or unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands received, so long as they are not protected. A comprehensive check is made via the Police National Computer (PNC).
Eligibility: The applicant’s role must be included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Only organisations/companies can request this level of check; standard DBS checks cannot be requested by an individual.
Example job roles: receptionists in GP surgeries, and certain financial roles.
These detail any cautions, warnings, reprimands or convictions on an individual’s criminal history and, if relevant, a check is also performed against the children and/or adults barred lists.
Eligibility: To be eligible for an enhanced level DBS certificate, the position must be included in both the ROA Exceptions Order and in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations. Only organisations/companies can request this level of check; enhanced DBS checks cannot be requested by an individual.
Example job roles: those partaking in “regulated activities” with children or vulnerable adults, for example teachers, coaches, care workers.
Adult First Checks – available alongside Enhanced DBS Checks
DBS Adult First is a function provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service which can be used in exceptional cases. This means that in accordance with the terms of Department of Health guidance – a person is permitted to commence work with adults before a DBS certificate has been obtained. This applies to adult services such as care homes, domiciliary care agencies and adult placement schemes where DBS certificates are required by law.
This service is only available to organisations who are eligible to access the DBS ‘Adult Barred List’ and who have requested a check of the barred lists on their DBS application form. DBS Adult First is not a substitute for a DBS certificate and organisations must take care when making recruitment decisions prior to receiving a full DBS certificate. DBS Adult First checks are advised to be used ONLY in exceptional circumstances and when absolutely necessary.
A DBS Adult First check is not appropriate for any individuals who may work with both children and adults. Those working in both areas will need to wait until a DBS certificate is returned to ensure that the individual in question has not been barred from working with children. There is no equivalent speedy check of the Children’s Barred List.