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Geraldine – Getting clear advice enabled me to successfully challenge an ineligible DBS check

Geraldine contacted our helpline following a job offer teaching adults. Geraldine explained that her employers had initially told her that they would be carrying out a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check which she happily agreed to. However, several days later she’d been contacted by the HR department who informed her that on one day per week she’d be working in a building which had a creche on the premises, and she would therefore now be required to have an enhanced DBS check.

Geraldine informed the helpline advisor that as she had previous convictions which would be disclosed on an enhanced DBS check, she was worried that her employers may reconsider their decision to employ her. As the convictions were now spent and she’d believed that a basic DBS check was being carried out, she hadn’t disclosed them to her employer.

Geraldine had contacted the DBS who told her it was unlikely that her role would be eligible for an enhanced check. However, she didn’t feel that she’d been given enough information about challenging her employers over the correct level of check.

From the information provided, we advised Geraldine that as she would be teaching over 18’s, her role would only be eligible for a basic check. Just because the building she’d be working in had a creche made no difference to the level of check being carried out on her. Geraldine would not be working in or have access to the creche.

We recommended that Geraldine either speak to her employer about her concern, or alternatively agree to the enhanced check and then challenge it through the DBS ineligible check procedure. We explained to Geraldine how she would go about it.

Geraldine contacted us several weeks later to let us know that she’d decided to speak to her employer about the eligibility of the check. She’d set out her reasons for disputing the enhanced check and, having listened to the points she’d raised, they’d agreed to carry out a basic DBS check.

Geraldine had started her job and stated:

Before I spoke to Unlock I didn’t realise that it was possible to challenge an ineligible check. With the amount of information Unlock gave me, I felt confident enough to speak to my employer who agreed to carry out a basic check.



This case demonstrates how employers often request ineligible criminal record checks convinced that they’re doing the right one.

With the right information and advice, Geraldine felt confident enough to approach her prospective employer and successfully challenge the eligibility of the enhanced DBS check. This direct approach to the employer doesn’t suit everyone, mainly because it can highlight to a prospective employer that an applicant has a criminal record. However, where an employer has made a genuine mistake, they’re likely to be more receptive to receiving correct information.


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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