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Christopher – Providing information to enable an individual to challenge an ineligible enhanced DBS check with their employer

Christopher contacted our helpline for some advice around enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks. He’d worked as a service engineer on a sub-contracting basis for over 4 years, primarily in residential care homes.

Recently the company he worked for had been awarded two new contracts working in schools and they had told him that they needed to carry out a DBS check on him. Christopher wanted to know whether his role required that level of check. He was very concerned that if an enhanced check were to be carried out, an old previous conviction would be disclosed and he would lose his job.

We advised him that normally the job of a service engineer would only be eligible for a basic check, and as his conviction was spent this would not be disclosed on this type of check. However, in certain circumstances an organisation may be able to apply for an enhanced DBS check for this type of job.

From the information Christopher provided us with we advised him that it was likely that his job would only require a basic criminal record check. This was because:

  1. The frequency of his work (a bi-annual service contract), and the fact that there would be no opportunity for him to have unsupervised contact with children whilst in the schools meant that his role was outside the criteria for regulated activity.
  2. The frequency of his role came outside the criteria for regulated activity in a care home as his work didn’t take place more than once a week, four or more times in a 30 day period or overnight and there was no opportunity for any unsupervised contact with vulnerable adults.

We suggested that Christopher speak to his employer, asking them to reconsider whether an enhanced criminal record check was appropriate in light of the above information.

When we followed up with Christopher, he informed us that as a result of the information and advice that we had provided, his employer had acknowledged that an enhanced DBS check was not required and the application process has been stopped.



Many employers struggle to determine the correct level of criminal record check they can request from people they employ on a self-employed basis. This can be through lack of knowledge of the roles and criteria that cover DBS checks. However, once they’re made aware of their legal responsibilities some will stop their requests for DBS checks.


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.


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