The Differences Between Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks

When you apply for a role that involves any form of security concern, you will likely be asked to complete a DBS check. Depending on what the role involves and the security processes within the organisation, this will be one of three types: a BasicStandard or Enhanced DBS check.

The process of a DBS check can seem confusing to many people. Whether you’re an employer wondering what level of DBS checks you need to use or an individual who wants to learn about the disclosure processes you may have to undertake, keep reading this blog to find out more.

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is an official criminal record check that states an individual’s criminal convictions, which are performed once a request from an individual or employer has been received. Some people know this better as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, which the UK government replaced with the DBS check in 2012.

Employers use the DBS Update Service to keep tabs on individuals they’re hiring to ensure they can safely undertake roles involving vulnerable people or secure information, therefore helping them make smarter recruitment decisions. A certificate is produced at the end of the process, which includes information relevant to the DBS check. Employers use these to assist when deciding the result of any job application.

So now we’re up to speed on what a DBS check is; what are the specifics of the three varieties of DBS check?

Basic DBS Checks

A Basic DBS check is the lowest intensity of screening available, which makes it the cheapest. Only unspent criminal convictions that a person may have (as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) will be included in this type of check. If the individual whose records are being checked has no such convictions, the results will state so.

It’s also the only type of criminal record check that an individual can request for themselves regardless of profession, making the Basic DBS check an excellent option for anyone that’s self-employed. If any further information than what is already included in the Basic DBS check is required, then an employer must register for one of the two more thorough DBS checks on your behalf.

Standard DBS Checks

Standard DBS checks provide a more extensive range of screening than a Basic check. Therefore, they are only suitable for occupations specified in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This higher screening level means that applicants must have their proof of ID and address documents verified by their current or prospective employer before completing a DBS online application.

As with a Basic DBS check, the report includes previous unspent criminal convictions. However, a Standard DBS check will also include spent convictions, cautions and reprimands.

Enhanced DBS Checks

Enhanced DBS checks are the highest level of criminal record checks available and are only for roles that involve working with vulnerable adults or children. An Enhanced DBS check includes all of the checks that the Standard disclosure provides, with additional checks against barred lists often requested and information provided by local police, the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health, where appropriate.

You can only apply for an Enhanced DBS check online if your employer has requested one under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Your employer can only ask for this if they already employ you or an offer of employment has been made. As this type of check is only valid when working with vulnerable people, the educational and medical sectors are the most common for requiring Enhanced disclosures.

Summarising the Differences

The choice of which type of DBS check you require depends on the day-to-day aspects of the job:

  • Basic disclosures will be requested if the employer just wants to get a judge of your character or if you’re self-employed.
  • Standard checks are commonly requested in industries where security and legal checks are necessary.
  • Enhanced disclosures are only asked for when the role involves working with vulnerable individuals.

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