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Brinley – “I successfully challenged an ineligible DBS check and kept my job”

Brinley recently contacted our helpline following a job offer as a business development manager with a commercial cleaning company. On his first day in the job Brinley was surprised to be asked to give his consent to an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check as he’d assumed that they would only be carrying out a basic check.

Although Brinley’s old conviction was spent and wouldn’t appear on a basic check, it would still show up on an enhanced check (as it wouldn’t be eligible to be removed under a technical process known as ‘filtering’). Throughout the recruitment process, Brinley had only been asked about unspent convictions and therefore hadn’t disclosed to his new employer.

Following research he’d carried out, Brinley believed that his employers were potentially going to be carrying out an ineligible DBS check. Wanting further reassurance before he took the matter further, he forwarded us a copy of his job description. We were able to confirm that in our opinion, his role would only be eligible for a basic check and that he should challenge this through the DBS.

As suggested, Brinley challenged the ineligible check through the DBS who put it on hold pending further investigation. Several weeks later he was told that the enhanced DBS check had been withdrawn, as the registered body had come to the conclusion that the role was not eligible for an enhanced DBS check.

Brinley stated:

“I was pleased that Unlock agreed with me that an enhanced check was ineligible and this gave me the confidence I needed to challenge it through the DBS. My employer carried out a basic check which, as expected, came back clear. Even though my conviction was old and happened when I was very young, I didn’t think that my employers would be able to see past the fact that my DBS wasn’t clean.”


Many employers are unaware of the legalities around criminal record checks and, if they don’t receive good advice from a registered body, then ineligible checks may be requested.

As this case demonstrates, where you believe that an ineligible check is being undertaken and you have evidence (for example a job description) to back this up, it’s always worth challenging it through the DBS. Brinley had a positive outcome which meant that he was able to keep a job which potentially may have been withdrawn had an enhanced DBS check been carried out.


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.

Published September 2019

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