Starting Work Without a DBS Check

Sometimes, the phrase ‘pending DBS check’ can appear on a job application form - this usually means that the specifications of that role will involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Employers hiring for these types of positions need to be cautious when conducting these checks. They need to hire a candidate who isn’t barred from working with vulnerable people to maintain everyone’s safety. This blog from Online DBS Checks explains what happens when employment begins before the required DBS application is completed.

Can I Work Without a Valid DBS Check?

If you’re hired for a role in England and Wales that requires a valid DBS certificate, and you don’t currently have one, you’ll either need to:

Once you submit your DBS application, there’s little you can do to speed up your application, which leaves some candidates nervous about when they’ll be able to begin work. If you’re currently in this position, it’s important to note that no law prevents you from starting work in these roles without a certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

However, that doesn’t mean your new employer will be happy for you to begin working without a valid DBS certificate. Anyone hiring for sensitive roles can stop you from beginning work, to ensure that vulnerable groups aren’t put at risk by someone who hasn’t provided a valid DBS certificate.

The specifics of whether you might be able to start work without completing a DBS check already depends on which type you require.

Working Before a Basic DBS Check is Done

Whether DBS checks for students are being considered due to work experience or some other reason, one constant is that anyone over the age of 16 is legally able to undergo a disclosure check. This is due to a change in UK law that occurred in 2012, at the same time as the now-extinct CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check was changed to become the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, making it illegal for under 16s to be forced to use a DBS checking service.

Can I Work Before Completing an Enhanced or Standard DBS Check?

Compared to the Basic equivalent, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks are more detailed and, therefore, tend to be required for anyone working in roles that involve regulated activities. Possible jobs within this categorisation include teaching staff and hospital workers; if it’s a position of trust, then a more intensive criminal record check is required, possibly including a barred list check.

Due to the nature of these roles, it’s much less likely that you’d be able to start working before receiving a Standard or Enhanced disclosure certificate. Employers are naturally more cautious about putting anyone in contact with vulnerable people without first obtaining the proper disclosure information. Any issues that occur as a result of you starting work early could create significant problems.

However, you can take some steps to get around this. You could undergo any necessary training courses whilst your DBS check is being completed or be paired with an existing staff member to work under supervision. If you’re particularly keen to start working straight away, these are solutions you can discuss during your interview.

How Long Does a DBS Check Take?

Hopefully, this doesn’t occur, but sometimes delays to your DBS check can stop you from being able to start your new role. This can be incredibly frustrating but is often out of your hands and your employers’ control. All you can do to keep the process as quick as possible is complete any required forms straight away and prepare the documents you may need to present ahead of time.

Discuss it with your employer if you believe there could be an issue with your DBS check being processed. Alternatively, contact the DBS checking agency being used to see if they can provide any further information.

Can I Work Before Completing an Enhanced or Standard DBS Check?

Whichever type of DBS check has been requested, the aim will be to receive your results before your employment commences. However, due to the possibility of complications and missing paperwork, there are no guarantees that your check will be submitted or completed on schedule. Therefore, it’s always worth reminding yourself of the most common DBS mistakes to ensure all your information is correct.

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