Alice had been employed as a care support worker for 15 years during which time she’d worked for several different companies who were responsible for running a care home contract. They’d all been aware of her historic (over 30 years old) convictions and had always risk assessed her as ‘posing no threat to clients’.
However, following the take-over of the care home contract by another company, Alice was called to a meeting with HR where she was informed that following receipt of her enhanced DBS certificate, they considered her to be a threat when working alone with clients. The organisation circulated the results of the risk assessment to all care home managers working for the company informing them that Alice should not be allowed to work alone with any clients.
Alice was devastated by the new assessment as she didn’t believe that her old convictions were relevant to the work she was doing and that she didn’t pose any risk to the clients she worked with. She felt that as she was unable to work unsupervised then the majority of home managers wouldn’t want to use her which would significantly affect her earnings and her ability to support herself. Alice contacted our helpline for advice.
We suggested to Alice that she appeal the organisation’s decision and ask them to review their risk assessment. We advised her to highlight her unblemished work record, length of service, the fact that her convictions were over 30 years old, were for minor offences (shoplifting) and were not relevant to the work that she was doing. It was also important that she state that no other company had deemed her to be a risk and that she had worked unsupervised in the care sector for 15 years.
Alice contacted us several weeks later confirming that she had successfully appealed her company’s decision and was now back to lone work. She said:
Being deemed a risk and a threat was an awful experience and took me back to a very bad time in my life. It was so good to be able to get some practical advice from Unlock about how to deal with the situation when I was finding it hard to think straight.
This case demonstrates the different assessment procedures operated by organisations which can lead to people with convictions being negatively assessed when previously they had not been deemed to pose any type of risk. This not only leads to upset and anxiety but can also have financial implications. However, by setting out a reasoned argument you can successfully get an assessment overturned.
Despite her convictions being very old, Alice had more than one, which meant they would not be eligible for filtering from her enhanced DBS check even though on their own, they would be.
- There’s information on how employers should handle certificate information and filtering on our self-help information site.
Notes about this case study
This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.
Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.