Why are DBS Checks Important for Safeguarding?

It’s fair to say that a DBS check is worth more than just a certificate of disclosure. Whether you apply for DBS checks online as an individual, or as an employer who needs to oversee multiple DBS checks using a Fast Track service, you aren’t just getting the stamp of approval proving that applicant’s safe to work for your organisation.

DBS certificates go a long way in complying with safeguarding in schoolsuniversities, hospitals and almost any other setting which involves working with children or vulnerable adults. Before we understand how important DBS checks are for schools, we need to establish some facts about safeguarding that many people may not be aware of.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding means protecting the health, wellbeing and human rights of vulnerable adults and children. All organisations which work, or come into contact with children or vulnerable adults must have safeguarding policies and principles in place to guarantee their safety. The Disclosure and Barring Service ensures that safeguarding is carried out correctly, effectively and in the right areas.

Some people are not acutely aware that the phrases ‘child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’ mean entirely different things.

Specifically, child protection is defined as; “protecting specific children who are suffering or likely to suffer harm.”

Safeguarding refers to the policies and practices that, for example, schools (and their governing bodies) adopt to keep children safe and promote their wellbeing. Safeguarding applies to everything from building security to recruiting staff, while child protection is one core aspect of the bigger picture of safeguarding in schools.

Safeguarding requirements mean that schools (and other organisations) should ensure any children and vulnerable groups are protected from abuse while maintaining their health and wellbeing. An online DBS check for individuals plays a massive part in safeguarding requirements.

What DBS Checks are there?

DBS checks are carried out on anyone who works, or even volunteers, with children and vulnerable adults. Employers carry out BasicStandard or Enhanced DBS checks before allowing employees to work with children or vulnerable adults to ensure they are not prohibited from doing so.

The three types of DBS checks search the applicant’s details against various levels of disclosure, depending on the check.

  1. Basic DBS check
  2. Standard DBS check
  3. Enhanced DBS check

Which DBS Check do I Need?

Under the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012), schools have a legal requirement to make sure any volunteer or employee is not on any Barred List before engaging in any regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.

It’s a criminal offence to hire someone to work in a school, who is currently on the Children’s Barred List.

Enhanced DBS checks detail an applicant’s entire criminal record history (except any offences that are eligible for filtering). Including any unspent or spent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands.

What does an Enhanced DBS check show? Click here to read more.

These checks are notable for including additional Barred List checks, which the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) used to do alongside the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) before both companies merged to form the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

All Enhanced DBS check applications involve an additional level of check with local police force records, as well as checks on the Police National Computer (PNC).

As far as schools are concerned, applicants’ details will be checked against the Department for Education. An Enhanced DBS application is a legal requirement by Ofsted. These checks are necessary to prevent any unsuitable candidates from working with children in any capacity.

Enhanced DBS Check

Employers can request individuals to apply for Enhanced DBS checks if an offer of employment has been made. By following the correct procedure, the employer will have met their legal obligations; therefore, they are meeting their safeguarding requirements.

Enhanced DBS checks cost £69.80 with Online DBS Checks, who are authorised by the DBS to carry out checks.

How long does an Enhanced DBS take? You can usually expect an outcome within seven working days. Though if you register with us for our Fast Track DBS service, some certificates are delivered within as little as 48 hours.

DBS Checks and Safeguarding – A Summary

It’s abundantly clear that it doesn’t matter who needs a DBS check; any check is essential for helping organisations meet safeguarding requirements. An applicant’s criminal record will be visible, thereby allowing employers to make safer and more informed recruitment decisions.

Any applicant who successfully applies for an Enhanced DBS online, having been requested to do so by an employer, will be expected to uphold the safeguarding policies and principles held by that particular organisation.

For those who have already received a DBS certificate, and are in the process of changing jobs, read more about transferring DBS checks between employers.

For employers, simplify your DBS check application process and register with us. You can receive multiple DBS checks electronically (as opposed to a DBS check paper application) on a self-administered system which incorporates your secure panel. Read more about DBS checks for employers.

If you have any questions about safeguarding responsibilities, it’s recommended you speak to your regulatory body, who can provide further guidance.

Alternatively, please give us a call today to see how we can help.

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