Why DBS Checks Important for Employers

The Importance of DBS Check Screening for Employers


Every year, thousands of employers across the UK are required to conduct DBS checks. These could be required by their governing bodies or parent organisations, to ensure they are fulfilling their employment screening criteria and make safer recruitment decisions. Depending on the industry and what the role you are hiring for entails, as there are different criteria to meet for certain DBS check applications.


What is a DBS Check?

Firstly, it’s important to understand the definition of a DBS check. Formerly known as CRB checks, DBS checks are criminal record checks that determine the suitability of individuals who are applying for positions that involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults, in England and Wales. There are separate rules for these criminal record checks in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

When a candidate applies for a paid or voluntary position in, for example, a school, healthcare setting or institution which is responsible for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, they must apply for a DBS check. These checks are carried out by employers to ensure anybody who is deemed ‘unsuitable’ aren’t employed, to protect these vulnerable groups.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was formed after the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) were merged into one single government body. Many industries still refer to DBS checks as CRB checks, and it’s important to remember that these two checks are ostensibly the same.

Types of DBS Check

There are three levels of DBS check that can be conducted by employers on prospective employees.

  1. Basic DBS check - these reveal unspent convictions and cautions.
  2. Standard DBS check - these disclose spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
  3. Enhanced DBS check - these reveal the same info as Standard DBS checks, as well as any other information held by the applicant’s local police force.

Sometimes, Enhanced DBS check applications may involve a children’s or adults’ barred list check. These barred lists disclose any people who are banned from working with certain groups, in particular roles and professions.

Who Needs a DBS Check?

Individuals applying to work or volunteer in specific positions require a certain level of criminal record check. Some examples of roles that require applicants to get a DBS check are as follows:

  • Teachers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Social workers
  • Care home employees
  • Tutors
  • Shop workers
  • Financial services workers
  • Solicitors

The list does not stop there though. It’s important to remember that if someone is applying to work or volunteer in a position where they could be responsible for, or come into contact with vulnerable people, they must apply. The extent of what their role will entail will determine the correct DBS check to apply for.

For example, teachers will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check (with a barred list check) because they are directly responsible for the welfare and supervision of children. Whereas shop workers will be eligible for Basic DBS checks. 

It’s up to the employer (or governing body) to decide what check is required for available positions.

What do Employers Need for DBS Checks?

It’s an employer’s duty to remember the following:

  • Never employ someone deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable people
  • Which level of check the role is entitled to
  • If you are obligated to request checks (which you can verify via the UK government’s DBS eligibility checker)
  • You cannot choose to reject an application purely based on spent convictions
  • If there are any safeguarding problems that arise, because of negligence in terms of DBS applications, it’s your organisation’s responsibility

Background checks cover criminal records, as well as other areas like employment history, right to work, media searches, credit checks and so much more. 

For many organisations, criminal record checks are vital pieces of a robust, pre-employment screening process. This is where Eurocom CI can help you.

We can provide you with bespoke checks, as well as a set of packages which are accurately measured against recognised standards such as SMCR, BS7858 and BPSS. Depending on your obligations and requirements, we can help figure out an appropriate, efficient, transparent, cost-effective employment screening solution. 

Get in touch with us to see how we can help.