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Donald – Getting support from Unlock to challenge an ineligible DBS check allowed me to keep my job with the NHS

Donald contacted our helpline looking for some information and advice relating to a risk assessment panel his employers had asked him to attend.

Donald explained that he had been working in a management role for the NHS for two months. However following receipt of his enhanced DBS certificate which had disclosed his two convictions (one from 2002 and one from 2012) he had been asked to attend a risk assessment panel. Donald was keen to find out what type of questions he might be asked and, whether the NHS could dismiss him from his job.

He went on to explain that he hadn’t disclosed his convictions to his employers during the recruitment process as they were both spent and he believed that they would be carrying out a basic DBS check. He stated that although he was employed by the NHS his job involved the management of supplies going into two hospitals with his office being based almost 4 miles from the hospital premises. He visited each hospital once a year to carry out an audit and never had any contact with patients.

The helpline advisor asked Donald to provide her with a copy of his job description and, having read through it, confirmed that the job would only require a basic DBS check. The advisor provided him with links to our information on eligibility, and explained that as the job was covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act the NHS appeared to have carried out an ineligible DBS check.

The advisor recommended that Donald speak with his Line Manager or the HR department highlighting how the NHS may have committed a criminal offence under the Police Act by undertaking an ineligible DBS check. They may also have breached the General Data Protection Regulations by obtaining and processing information relating to spent convictions which was likely to be considered ‘excessive’ if the position was not covered by the ROA Exceptions Order.

Several weeks later, Donald contacted the helpline again with an update. He had attended the risk assessment panel meeting and raised his concerns that an ineligible DBS check had been carried out. He provided the panel with a copy of Unlock’s eligibility information as well as guidance produced by the NHS which supported Donald’s opinion that his role would only be eligible for a basic DBS check

Donald stated:

“After the panel had read through all the information I’d presented to them, they agreed that a mistake had been made and that an enhanced DBS check wasn’t necessary. It was agreed that no further action would be taken and I was free to leave and get on with my job.

I’m so grateful to Unlock for the advice and support given and for making me look at my problem from a different perspective.”



Establishing the correct level of DBS check can cause confusion for employers, especially those who regularly recruit for roles working in regulated activity. However, as this case demonstrates it is the job role which dictates the level of check being done and not the employer an individual is working for.


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 March 2021.


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