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Who needs a Background Check and what are the steps to get one?

A DBS check, also known as a criminal record check, is a process that enables employers to see if an individual has any criminal convictions. This can be an important step for recruiters when hiring, as it allows businesses to ensure that they bring on employees with a clean criminal history. We have put together some important information that everyone needs to know about DBS checks and its process.


How Would You Know If You Need A Background Check?

With the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the level of information that an applicant or employee needs to disclose is being restricted even if there is no specific restriction on an employer seeking voluntary disclosure from them. That said, DBS is formulated in order for the law to set a balance between rehabilitating individuals with criminal records and the need for disclosure to prevent wrongdoings in specific professions or to protect certain groups of people who may be vulnerable. Its three key functions are:

  • To check if someone has a criminal record or if there is any evidence that suggests they aren’t suitable to work in the role for which they have applied.
  • To keep a record of anyone judged unbefitting to work with vulnerable groups.
  • To take a recommendation from organisations who are worried that someone who has not been assessed as such, is a risk or deemed unsuitable for certain roles.

Because it is not always clear who needs a DBS check and who doesn’t, it is a good question to ask how would you know if you need one.


Who Needs A DBS Check

If you are working with or around vulnerable groups, including children, this procedure is definitely necessary but it is also worth noting that not every job position requires a DBS check so the process will depend on individual roles.

Here are three of the most common sectors that require their employees and applicants to have a Background Check:

  • Children’s homes – this includes carers and social workers
  • Hospitals – a DBS check is required for all medical professionals including hospital administrative workers who handle sensitive information
  • Schools – teachers, teaching assistants and even sports coaches are also subjected to a DBS check

Other professions that will also need a DBS check include barristers, lawyers, veterinary surgeons, accountants and even volunteers.


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Steps to get a DBS check

Thousands of criminal record checks are processed every year in the UK as part of the recruitment process.

It is common knowledge that a DBS check acts as a safeguarding tool and is used for analysis to record a person’s past which will ultimately determine whether a candidate will be recruited for a job role. However, the process of a criminal record check seems somewhat ambiguous for people and can cause much confusion and frustration.

Our team at DBS Check Online have therefore created a breakdown of the DBS process.

Once the employer has saved all applicants’ information and approved an application, it will transfer immediately to the team at DBS Check Online who will review the application and check for any amendments. We will then countersign the application. The application will be queued for transfer to the DBS on the next available transfer slot. Once the application transfers to the DBS, it will encounter five stages before the application can complete.

1st stage: The application form is received and validated by the DBS.

2nd stage: The application is sent to the Police National Computer (PNC). This is a computer system used by law enforcement organisations all over the UK and consists of several databases available 24 hours a day which gives access to information of national and local significance.

3rd stage: If an applicant is being checked for working with vulnerable groups in regulated activity, stage 3 will be implemented. Examples of workforce include care assistants, nurses and teachers to name a few. It will check against the Adults’ barred list, the Children’s barred list or both.
If an individual is checked against the children’s barred lists, then there will be a search to see if there is a match on the List 99 register. The list 99 register is a list of men and women who are barred from working by the Department of Education and Skills (DfES).

4th Stage: The application is now in process with the police. Exact timescales cannot be given due to every application being dissimilar. However, there are several reasons why an application could potentially be delayed. Typically, if an individual has not disclosed a past conviction, the application could take longer as the police will have further enquiries on the application and will be unable to proceed until they have full information.
Similarly, if an applicant has made an error with an incorrect address or name, the police would have additional queries and this would cause a delay in the application completion. Conversely, there are several police forces that do have a backlog of applications, which can take several weeks to complete their searches.

5th Stage: The certificate is in the final stage of printing and will be routinely distributed to applicants the following day. Please note, that a certificate can take up to 14 days to reach an applicant’s address. If you have not received your certificate, please call the DBS directly on 03000 200 190 and they will be able to organise a reprint for you.


How Can DBS Check Online Make The Process Easy For You?

We understand it is frustrating when an application is delayed as people need to work and earn a living.

DBS Check Online is committed to providing efficient service and therefore when an application has been in process with the police for longer than 60 days, we automatically contact the DBS to raise an escalation on the application. This can take up to 14 days.

However, if after 14 days, there has still been no progress we then periodically write to the police force that it is being held to determine what is causing the delay. DBS Check Online ensures that an application is continually chased until completion ensues.

With multiple years of experience in the industry, DBS Check Online has been named one of the top providers for criminal record checks in the UK and has now become a leading organisation for the Disclosure and Barring Service. To provide quality service for all our clients, no industry sector is excluded and we will gladly process disclosures in all areas of commerce.

Ready to find out more?

Give us a call on 03338805331 or send us an email at [email protected]


Read some of our other articles:

– DBS checks for teachers

Enhanced DBS Check

– Can you fast track a DBS Check?

– DBS check for cleaners

– How to recruit safely?

– DBS Checks: Foster Care and Adoption

– Can you transfer a DBS Check to your new employer? 

– Do DBS Checks reveal motoring offences?

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