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Tag: eligibility

Is it always necessary to have an enhanced DBS check if you’re working as a contractor in a school or care home?

Our helpline often receives calls from individuals who, as part of their work, are required to go into schools or care homes (for example plumbers and electricians). Many employers will insist that you have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check with a check of the barred list because of the type of establishment that you will be working in. But, are employers always entitled to do this level of check?

The DBS offer three levels of criminal record check:

  1. Standard
  2. Enhanced
  3. Enhanced with a check of the children’s barred list, the adults barred list or both

An employer is only entitled to do an enhanced check with a check of the barred list if an individual will be engaging in regulated activity.

The DBS have confirmed that in order to be in regulated activity for children, your role would need to meet the following criteria:

  • Take place in a specified establishment (e.g. a school)
  • The work must be carried out for the purpose of the school
  • The work must be unsupervised
  • The work must involve the opportunity to have contact with children (i.e. there must be children present on the premises at the time the work is carried out).

Therefore if you’re a plumber working in the boiler room of a school and supervised at all times by the school caretaker, then an employer would not be able to do an enhanced check with barring.

However, they may still be able to request an enhanced check without barring. This is because ‘infrequent’ work within a school can entitle eligibility as long as there is the opportunity for contact with children. So, if you’re a plumber who would be working unsupervised in different parts of the school and may come into contact with children, then an employer could ask you to have an enhanced check without barring.

If you’re working in an adult care home, an enhanced check without barring could be carried out providing you were working in the care home once a week or more, four or more times in a 30 day period or overnight and there would be the opportunity for you to come into contact with vulnerable adults.

The DBS have recently launched their eligibility tool which may help you to establish what type of check an employer can do for a job you’re applying for.

If you believe that an employer could be carrying out an ineligible check then you can challenge this through the DBS.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on our criminal record checks for employment section
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact theHelpline
  3. Employment Project – Find out more information about our Fair Access to Employment project

Be aware of what type of criminal record check is being done for the job you’re applying for

Over the last few weeks our helpline has been contacted by several people enquiring about what’s likely to be included in their Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

People will often refer to their convictions as being ‘spent’ without appreciating that jobs requiring standard or enhanced DBS checks are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and that these DBS certificates will disclose both spent and unspent convictions and cautions.

However, since May 2013, many people have been able to benefit from having cautions and a conviction filtered from their DBS certificates which means they no longer need to disclose it.

We often hear from people who require DBS checks as part of an employer’s recruitment process. They don’t disclose their convictions because they’re spent and they don’t realise they have to. If their cautions or conviction is not eligible for filtering then, when their DBS certificate comes back, it will disclose their criminal record and the individual will then need to explain it to the employer. This can often leave employers feeling that they’ve been misled especially, if they’d previously asked the applicant to disclose, and they may decide to withdraw the job offer.

So, it’s important that you’re aware of what’s on your criminal record and that you know what level of check is being done by an employer for a job. Standard or enhanced checks can only be requested for certain job roles, but any job role could potentially involve a basic disclosure.

Knowing the type of check that’s being done for the role you’re applying for should prevent you from giving too much or not enough information to the employer. Too much information could mean that an employer decides not to proceed with your application. Too little information may lead to employers questioning why you didn’t disclose and you feeling as though you’ve been dishonest. They may decide not to offer you a role or worse dismiss you if you’ve already started the job.

Employers don’t always make it obvious – sometimes, you need to do a bit of digging. Ultimately, though, it’s important to be aware of the type of check that’s being done so that you can be clear and confident about what, if anything, you need to disclose.

For more information

For practical self-help information – For a more detailed guide on filtering, click here.

For frequently asked questions on filtering, click here

To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences of filtering on our online forum.

Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline

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