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3. Ineligible checks

If an employer conducts a higher level check than they are entitled to, this is known as an ineligible check; this section gives informatio

There are various levels of check that employers and other organisations can carry out. There is information in the glossary about the different types of DBS check.

Anyone can apply for a Basic check to be conducted on themselves (which can be helpful to see what the certificate shows), and organisations can carry out Basic checks in all situations. However, the higher levels of checks can only be carried out by employers for certain roles. Further information on this can be found on the Unlock website here. An ineligible check is where an employer carries out a DBS check at a higher level than they are legally permitted to do. This may lead to them holding information on you that they are not permitted to take into account in decision making, thus being in breach of criminal records and data protection legislation. If they knowingly carry out an ineligible check, this could be a criminal offence.

Information on the Unlock website about determining the appropriate level can be found here.

Employers should clearly state as part of the recruitment policy what DBS checks will be required when applying for a role, and when those checks will be carried out. If not, check their website, as the DBS code of practice states that an employer should have a policy setting out what DBS checks will be done, when and how any information gathered from the checks will be treated. If it is still not clear, you can contact the employer and ask what, if any, DBS checks will be carried out as part of a recruitment process.

  • If you believe the check is ineligible you should consent to the check but not disclose a caution or conviction information yourself. Without consenting to the check you are unable to challenge it. You should not disclose information that you believe they are not permitted to hold, whilst failing to consent to the check might also raise warning signs in the eyes of the employer.

    Once you have consented, you will be able to raise your query with DBS. E-mail with the following information:

    • In the subject line of the email, enter “APPLICATION ELIGIBILITY QUERY – URGENT”.
    • In the email, you should include as much information as possible, including your full name, your current address, your date of birth, the position applied for, the organisation name, the Registered Body number and the DBS form reference (11 digits on the top right).
    • You should also include details of why you think the application is not eligible.
    • State clearly that you would like the DBS to put the check on hold pending an outcome to their assessment of eligibility.

    If you contact our helpline, we would be happy to support you with this process. We are also always interested to hear about ineligible checks to support our policy and advocacy work.

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