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Nina – Raising concerns with an employer about an ineligible check resulted in a change in recruitment practice and a job

Nina contacted our helpline at the beginning of the year after being offered a job as a tutor teaching English to Ukrainian refugees. She was already working in a similar role for a different provider and had only been asked to provide a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. However, her new employer was requesting an enhanced DBS check and Nina was worried that her caution for child neglect would be disclosed, resulting in the job offer being revoked.

Nina went on to say that the company’s recruitment policy stated:

“Staff who disclose that they have been convicted of any offence relating to children/young people and/or subject to any disciplinary action or sanction relating to children will not be permitted to work at xxx”.

Although Nina’s role was a home-based adult tutor, her employer had stated on the DBS application form that she would be working as a “child workforce tutor”.

The helpline advisor suggested that Nina raise her concerns about the age of the students she would be teaching directly with the employer and also ask for clarification around eligibility for an enhanced DBS check.

The employer explained that their safeguarding team made it a condition that all staff met both adult and child work requirements but confirmed that the job was working only with adults.

We advised Nina that an employer could only legally apply for an enhanced DBS check for the specific workforce an applicant would be working with. Also, from the information that Nina had provided, it seemed unlikely that she would be carrying out the work on a regular enough basis to make it eligible for an enhanced DBS check. We explained to Nina the process of challenging an ineligible check either with an employer or the DBS.

Nina contacted us several weeks later to confirm that she had raised her concerns in writing to her employer. After considering the information Nina has provided they agreed that they would only require a basic DBS check and asked Nina to apply for this. As expected, the certificate came back ‘clean’ and Nina has now been working for the company for just over 1 month.


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 April 2023.


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