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Grace – Having a better understanding of criminal record check eligibility gave me the confidence to challenge an ineligible check

Grace contacted our helpline seeking advice around a DBS check which, was being carried out by a potential employer.

She explained that approximately 3 years ago she had received a caution for child neglect and had been placed on the children’s barred list by the DBS. She went on to say that, having been offered a job as a functional skills tutor in an adult education college she was dismayed to discover that the college intended carrying out an enhanced and barring DBS check. Grace told the advisor:

“I’ve got no problem in disclosing my caution, in fact I’ve already done that. I had assumed that as I would be working with adults I would only need a basic DBS check. Being on the barred list means that I would be breaking the law if I applied for a job working in regulated activity with children and I’m really worried that the college will ask for a check of both the adult and children’s barred lists.”

The helpline advisor asked Grace to provide him with a copy of the job description and, having read through it, confirmed that the role would only require a basic DBS check. He provided her with links to our information on eligibility, which she could share with the college together with details of how to challenge an ineligible DBS check. The advisor explained to Grace that when applying for jobs covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act which only require a basic check, there was no need for her to disclose her caution.

Several weeks later Grace contacted the helpline again with an update. After arranging an appointment with the college HR department, Grace had provided them with a copy of Unlock’s information as well as the online DBS eligibility checker. On reviewing the information, the college accepted that the role was only eligible for a basic check and apologised to Grace for their mistake. They promised to delete all information they held which related to her caution.


Many employers become confused when trying to establish the correct level of DBS check they need to carry out and it is good to see employers like this who are willing to reconsider their decisions around eligibility and put things right when they get it wrong.

However, this isn’t always the case and, had the college gone ahead and applied for an enhanced with barring check this could have had serious consequences for Grace who would have been acting unlawfully by applying for a job working in regulated activity when barred.

Notes about this case study

  1. Grace was supported by Unlock’s helpline.
  2. We have practical guidance on eligibility for standard and enhanced checks and challenging an ineligible check.
  3. Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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