Debunking Criminal Record Check Myths

Lots of us will have to complete a criminal record check (commonly known as a DBS check) at some point in our careers. Many industries and roles require background checks for a variety of reasons. Despite this, many people still don’t understand the process. 

Until you have to request your first criminal record check, many people have no actual knowledge of what is required, and there are several widespread misconceptions about the process that our team of experts hear time and time again.

Before you request a DBS check for yourself or an employee in your organisation, make sure you continue reading this blog post to answer any questions you may have.

Common Myths Regarding Criminal Record Checks

The team working here at Eurocom CI regularly organise and complete criminal record checks for our clients. Whatever review they require for their organisation (whether single or multiple Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks), we have years of experience in every part of the process. So we’ve created this guide to debunk the six most common myths about criminal record background checks.

Myth 1: You Can Pass or Fail a DBS Check

This is one of the simplest but most common misconceptions that individuals have when completing a criminal record check, and the simple truth is: there is no such thing as passing or failing a criminal record check!

DBS checks exist to list any information held on an individual’s criminal record, either when applying for a role or as a regular check. The result of an employee’s check will either come back with this information or nothing at all, so having some form of a criminal record is not necessarily a ‘fail’. 

Basic DBS checks only show unspent criminal convictions or cautions, whilst Standard and Enhanced DBS checks show more, with Enhanced checks also including information that police forces deem relevant.

Therefore, unless the information within the applicant’s criminal record directly affects their ability to undertake the job they’re applying for safely, the DBS check does not have an official ‘result’.

Myth 2: Criminal Background Checks are Automatically Portable

Many people believe that once a criminal record check is completed, their results are automatically portable. Unfortunately, that’s incorrect; however, there are systems in place to easily transfer any information if you move jobs.

An applicant can register for the DBS Update Service within 30 days of applying for their DBS check online, a service which costs £13 per year. The DBS Update Service regularly checks the specified criminal record, helping new employers see if any further information has been added since that individual’s last criminal background check was completed.

Any changes found in that criminal record will require a new Standard or Enhanced DBS check to be undertaken, and if there haven’t been any updates, there is no requirement for another check to be ordered, saving time and money.

Myth 3: Criminal Record Checks are a Legal Requirement

Despite many people thinking otherwise, criminal record checks are not a legal requirement, even in roles working with vulnerable groups. However, relevant organisations often request a regularly updated DBS certificate in their applications when it’s in their interests to protect and safeguard people (such as in education-based roles).

Myth 4: A Criminal Record Stops You from Finding Employment

It’s important to understand that a DBS check is mainly undertaken to safeguard vulnerable people, so anyone with a relevant criminal record to the role they’re applying for is unlikely to get the job. It’s not the same as if someone is completely barred from working with vulnerable groups. For example, if you’re on the Children’s Barred List, you are not eligible to work in a school.

However, some offences are eligible for filtering or don’t apply to safeguarding, so they will have no impact on your ability to work in the role. If this is the case for you, you have the legal right to be fairly considered for the job you’ve applied for.

Myth 5: Criminal Record Checks Expire

Unlike some other regulatory checks, there are no official expiration dates for any type of criminal record check. Instead, the control around how up-to-date DBS certificates should be is down to each organisation. Companies need to decide how often they want to renew the checks, depending on the level of security they require and what type of DBS check is required each time.

Myth 6: Small Businesses Don’t Need to Perform Background Checks

Many small business owners believe that background checks aren’t as crucial for their companies as they are for larger corporations, due to the smaller teams they work with. However, smaller businesses could be more affected by a bad hiring decision, especially if they work with vulnerable groups. Hence, criminal record checks are vital to avoiding painting your organisation in a bad light.

Criminal Background Check Service

We hope that this guide has helped to further your understanding of criminal record checks. If you’re looking to order either a Basic, Standard or Enhanced DBS check, contact our team at Eurocom CI today to find out how we can help.