The entire world changed in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a seismic shift from an economic, social and political perspective. Every person has been affected by a new way of life involving social distancing, face masks, furlough, quarantines, lockdowns and self-isolation.
Now, some 16 months after the beginning of the pandemic, as more people across the UK find themselves coming out of lockdown restrictions but still facing the dilemma of rising coronavirus cases from the Delta variant, the lasting effects of the pandemic are far from over. Thousands of people have been dealt the cruel blow of furlough, and in many cases, the even worse hand of redundancy due to the pandemic. As such, numerous people have been seeking new employment opportunities since April 2020, many of which require a DBS check.
DBS Check Applications in 2022
DBS checks are required for entering certain professions, such as teaching, healthcare or carrying out any regulated activity involving interaction with children or vulnerable adults. Employers carry out DBS checks to determine whether an applicant’s criminal record will prove problematic in their new role. Despite them not being legally binding, a DBS certificate that discloses past criminal activity can prove valuable for employers.
Interestingly, in April 2020, there were already over 9000 fines issued to people who broke lockdown restrictions, which police had issued across the UK. Between then and now, police have had to break up large gatherings of people when regulations dictated these were not allowed, in the interests of protecting other people and avoiding potentially overwhelming the NHS, as this was before the vaccine rollout.
Being issued a fine for breaking COVID-19 lockdown restrictions is an inconvenience for many in the short term. But looking at the bigger picture, could such offences appear on a DBS check, thus affecting someone’s potential further employment?
Do Lockdown Offences Impact DBS Checks?
Even though a lockdown breach fine is unlikely to lead to an arrest, charge or criminal prosecution, that didn’t stop people worrying about whether this would be disclosed on a DBS certificate.
Even when lockdown restrictions began to lift as the early months of 2021 progressed, police were still finding themselves issuing fines to people for breaching rules. These fell into two primary categories:
- Fixed penalty notices
- Recording of personal details
Fixed Penalty Notices
Fixed penalty notices are mainly issued for minor offences such as littering or breaking local by-laws, such as drinking outside a pub. Most lockdown breaches were (and still are) dealt with using the fixed penalty system, which is essentially another word for police issuing on-the-spot fines without the need to go through arrests, questioning, charging or potential court appearances. These are not criminal offences, and the penalties are unlikely to ever show up on a DBS check, certainly not a Basic DBS check, which only reveals unspent criminal convictions.
Recording of Personal Details
If you are stopped for breaking lockdown rules or another minor matter, such as driving through a red light, the police will take basic details from you. The main reason for this is to catch repeat offenders. More severe penalties and punishments are dealt to people who break lockdown restrictions multiple times, and thus it helps the police crackdown on serial offenders. This is an aspect that concerns people whose data appears on the Police National Computer.
Enhanced DBS Checks
Enhanced DBS check applications are the most detailed type of DBS check. These show spent and unspent criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings (which is the same as a Standard DBS check), as well as any other information your local police force deems necessary.
During the DBS check process, usually at Stage 4, your local police force will verify any information on the Enhanced DBS application. Anything that has not been disclosed that is eligible for filtering but police deem relevant to include for your application will be later declared. Again, it’s at the police’s discretion.
This could range from older convictions that are spent under different circumstances or fines under a fixed penalty scheme, which lockdown breaches often fall under. The police will consider the type of offence and the job in question, and in most cases, a fixed penalty notice is unlikely to show on an Enhanced DBS certificate. However, it cannot be ruled out entirely. The more penalty notices you receive, the more likely they are to be disclosed.
Ultimately it is your employer’s decision whether to progress you through the job application process following your Enhanced disclosure coming back to them. If you’d like advice on DBS check filtering and disclosure, speak to Online DBS Checks, and we’ll be happy to help.
Does a Caution Show on a DBS Check? The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) exists to help companies across the UK make…
Why is safeguarding important in schools? (Know your responsibilities) It is no surprise that safeguarding and schools go hand in…