DBS Checks: Basic, Standard and Enhanced

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check is an official record stating a person’s criminal convictions. They help to ensure that employers are making the right decisions during the recruitment process. 

DBS checks are especially important in finding suitable candidates to work with vulnerable groups, including children. Upon completing the check, an employer can request to see a person’s DBS certificate and decide on the next steps.

What does DBS stand for? 

DBS is an acronym for the Disclosure and Barring Service and is “an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office.” 

The service is responsible for the processing and issuing of checks that allow recruiters to make safer decisions regarding whom they employ. It was previously known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

Types of DBS checks

There are three levels of DBS checks: basic, standard and enhanced. It is essential to know the various levels to ensure that employees go through proper screening. 

What is a basic DBS check? 

A basic DBS check is a criminal record check that individuals and employers can request. This is the lowest level check and is available for all individuals and employers living within the UK. A basic DBS will check a person’s criminal history, convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC).

Employers from all types of industries, such as construction or hospitality, can ask for a basic disclosure to check a candidates criminal record to help them decide if a candidate is fit for employment. However, for certain roles, you may need a higher level of DBS check.

What is a standard DBS check?

A standard DBS check is an in-depth criminal record check used by employers on behalf of applicants to ensure they are suitable for the role in question. At this level, it shows information of all cautions, warnings and reprimands a person has. It will also surface any unspent convictions held on a person’s criminal record in England and Wales and convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Standard DBS check is required for lawyers, accountants and other positions of high responsibility. This check will ensure that employees or candidates have no prior offences, such as fraud or financial misconduct.

What is an enhanced DBS check?

Similar to the standard DBS check, this level is only available to employers, who will have to request it on their applicant’s behalf. An enhanced DBS check has all the information contained in a standard DBS check. 

However, with an enhanced check, an employer can also request to see whether a potential or current employee is listed on the Children’s Barred List or Adult First list. This ensures that a candidate is not barred from working with vulnerable groups but can only be requested if the candidate or employee will be involved in a regulated activity. Most roles in education and health care will require the Enhanced DBS Check.

Changes were made to the enhanced DBS in 2019.

Why are there three types of DBS checks?

These three levels of DBS checks address different needs. While employers must have a clear picture of who they are hiring, they cannot and should not discriminate against a potential employee protected by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. 

If you are an employer and still have uncertainties regarding what type of check your current and future employees need, we at Care Check will be glad to advise you. For your enquiries, contact us on 0333 777 8575 or email us at info@carecheck.co.uk.