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Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS)

An executive agency of the Home Office set up to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions.

By providing wider access to criminal record information, the DBS helps employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors identify candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially that involving contact with children or other vulnerable members of society. People wishing to work with children or other vulnerable members of society will be required to undertake an enhanced disclosure.

What is a DBS check?

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are carried out on employees to ensure they are legally allowed to carry out their job role. They search the applicant's criminal record history in order for the employer to make a sound recruitment decision based on the information found on the DBS check.

The DBS Code of Practice and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act states that employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees with criminal background and must treat applicants fairly. Employers should make a recruitment decision based on whether any criminal information presented to them is relevant to the job the applicant will be carrying out.

The types of check are as follows:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
  • an enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that is considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with a check of the barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the adults' barred list, children's barred list or both.
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