Common Misconceptions Regarding DBS Check Applications

What Do I Need for A DBS Check?

Many people are somewhat aware of what a DBS check is, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a plethora of conflicting and confusing information online. Unfortunately, this means that people are left with question marks hanging over their heads when it comes to a DBS application.

For example, many people refer to the three types of DBS check (BasicStandard and Enhanced) as CRB checks, not knowing that the Criminal Records Bureau merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to form the Disclosure and Barring Service back in 2012.

It doesn’t stop there, and due to the prevalence of misinformation, many applicants and employers are totally perplexed about DBS requirements, processes and procedures. Whether it’s confusion about DBS identity documents, whether their job requires a check, or how much a DBS check costs, it’s no wonder why an online DBS application can be daunting for some.

To clear up any confusion, we have outlined some of the common DBS check myths and provided up-to-date, correct information. This should hopefully put your minds at ease.

DBS Check Myths Debunked

  • “You can pass or fail a check”

One common misconception is that a DBS online application results in either a pass or fail for an applicant. This is not the case.

DBS checks are part of an employee vetting process, and will disclose whether an applicant has any convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings. Basic DBS checks only show unspent convictions or cautions, whereas Standard and Enhanced DBS checks show more, with the latter including information that local police forces deem relevant to an application.

There is no passing or failing. The only thing to take into account is that if the check discloses something, it is at the employer’s discretion whether you are suitable for the role or not.

  • “They are a legal requirement”

Many people think that a DBS online application form is required by law. However, this isn’t the case either.

Some organisations and regulatory bodies stipulate that employees must have an up-to-date DBS certificate (such as Ofsted). However, they stipulate this because it is in their best interests to safeguard people, particularly if staff work with children and/or vulnerable adults. They were not instructed by law to do so.

  • “You must apply for a DBS again once your current one expires”

There is no official DBS expiry date. Organisations and employers that request DBS checks from their staff can decide whether they would like these renewed, and how often. Some companies decide they want their staff to apply for DBS checks annually, but there is no set expiration date.

  • “Individuals can apply for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks”

The only DBS check for individuals that’s readily available, provided they are aged 16 and over, is a Basic DBS check.

The only way an individual can apply for Enhanced or Standard DBS check is if an employer or organisation obtains one for you. It is not possible to apply for a Standard or Enhanced check without such a request already in place.

Please refer to our other pages for more information on DBS checks for self-employed workers or volunteers.

Once an applicant applies for a DBS check online, they have 30 days to register for the DBS Update Service (which is £13 per month).

If they are signed up to this service, new employers can log onto the applicant’s area (having previously obtained permission) to see if new information has been added since the last check was carried out.

If nothing has changed, there is no new DBS application required. However, if there is new information, the applicant will need to apply for a DBS check again. This is also the case if they’re not signed up to the Update Service.

  • “If employers see I have a criminal record, that means I won’t be employed”

If a criminal record check shows that you have offences that directly affect your current or future role, for example, if you have been found to be on the Children’s Barred List, you will be unable to work in a school.

However, if an offence is unrelated, as stipulated under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, you still stand a good chance of employment. However, it is entirely at the employer’s discretion.

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