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William – Ineligible Disclosure and Barring Service check leads employer to withdraw job offer

William contacted us for some advice after the company that he’d applied to work for had revoked his job offer upon receipt of his standard Disclosure and Barring Service check.

William told us that the job he’d applied for involved selling IT equipment to financial institutions. He had been told that it was not a role regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and as a result of this, he hadn’t felt that he needed to disclose his spent conviction.

He explained to us that he’d been surprised when he was told that the company would be carrying out a standard DBS check. However, as his conviction dated back to 2000 and had only resulted in a fine, he’d assumed that it would be filtered from the certificate and wouldn’t be disclosed.

William told us that when he received his certificate, his conviction had been revealed and when he handed it over to his future employers, they had immediately withdrawn the job offer.

We explained to William that unfortunately his conviction would not be eligible for filtering as, despite having only one conviction, he had six counts to it. However, we suggested that it was highly likely that the company had carried out an incorrect level of check and that he should try to appeal the company’s decision.

We advised him to explain to the company that the only reason he’d not disclosed his conviction was because he’d believed that if a criminal record check were to be done, it would be a basic one which would not disclose his spent conviction. We provided William with a letter in support of his appeal setting out the reasons why a standard check for his job was ineligible.

William contacted us a few days later to let us know that he’d had a meeting with the CEO of the company who’d taken away the information provided by us. The CEO told William that he intended to pass the information to the organisation’s legal team and ask them to look into the validity of requesting standard DBS checks for non-regulated roles. William was quite pessimistic about how rigorously the legal team would look into the issue.

The following week William got in touch again to say that he’d just been telephoned by the CEO who’d offered him his job back. The CEO told William that many of their customers were FCA regulated and they asked that any sub-contractors have criminal record checks. The company had been under the impression that these checks needed to be standard DBS checks. However, in light of the information supplied by Unlock and research carried out by their own legal team, they’d come to the conclusion that basic checks were the correct level.

William told us:

I couldn’t believe it when the CEO told me that after considering the information presented, he wanted to offer me the job. He assured me that the DBS certificate would be destroyed and he couldn’t apologise enough for what had happened. Speaking to the advisor at Unlock gave me the confidence to raise the issue with the company and the information provided by Unlock helped me to back up my argument.



Many employers struggle to determine the correct level of criminal record check they need to undertake for their employees and some, as in this case, can be led by their customer’s requirements rather than what they are legally entitled to do. However, once they’re made aware of their legal responsibilities many seek to put changes in place.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline and our employment project.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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