Pending Matters: Do They Appear on DBS Checks?

When asking the question, “what does a DBS check show?” There are often some misconceptions and conflicting information.

As far as the three types of DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks are concerned, most people are aware of the levels of disclosure involved with BasicStandard and Enhanced checks.

DBS Checks in England and Wales: a Recap

  • Basic DBS checks only reveal unspent convictions.
  • Standard DBS checks will disclose spent and unspent criminal convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands, according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
  • Enhanced DBS checks will reveal the same level of criminal history as a Standard DBS application, along with any additional information from the applicant’s local police force.

For specific roles involving regulated activities, applicants must apply for an Enhanced DBS check and a Barred List check to confirm their suitability for working with children or vulnerable adults.

DBS Checks and Pending Matters

Many think that both Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates will also reveal information about pending matters or allegations.

This isn’t always the case, as it will ultimately depend on the matter’s nature, sensitivity and possible consequences. Therefore, you must know what to do in the event of pending matter disclosure, which is what this guide will explain.

What are Pending Matters?

Should You Disclose Allegations or Pending Convictions to Your Employer?

Many candidates fear letting prospective employers know of a looming prosecution, as this could jeopardise their chances of securing the position.

This may be true in some cases, such as entry-level positions where experience is not as crucial to the level, unlike those roles involving higher seniority. An employer could potentially be willing to overlook a minor police matter if your experience, qualifications and qualities are worth their investment.

However, if you were to keep quiet about a pending conviction and your employer discovered the nature of your offence down the line, it could sever any trust you’d potentially built up.

The best advice we can give, as providers of both DBS checks for individuals and volunteers, and for bespoke DBS check packages for employers, is to be honest. It’s in your best interests to let potential employers know of anything that they should potentially know.

Will Allegations or Pending Matters Appear on a DBS Certificate?

Pending cases are allegations that don’t end up on your criminal record until there is a criminal conviction following a guilty verdict.

This means that pending matters wouldn’t appear on a DBS check application at a Basic or Standard level.

Enhanced disclosure applications, conversely, would delve deeper into an applicant’s criminal history, and this type of information could potentially be on the Police National Computer.

A pending matter could be disclosed during Stage 4 of the DBS application process if deemed necessary for your application.

What Happens with Convictions After Applying for a DBS Check

If you’ve already successfully applied for an Enhanced DBS online and subsequently found guilty of an offence, you’re obliged to be forthcoming with your employer.

Whether you’d let them know about the pending matter(s) or not, you’re legally obliged to inform your employer. If you don’t, and they were to uncover details about your sentence, you could ultimately be dismissed.

Receiving a criminal conviction isn’t immediately grounds for termination unless the offence directly relates to your job (e.g. being convicted of credit card fraud while working in the financial industry). However, as stated above, honesty is the best policy; keeping secrets from employers isn’t a good idea.

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