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DBS checks explained

DBS checks explainedIf you want to work with children or vulnerable adults, you’ll need a DBS check (previously known as a CRB check). What is it for, and how do you get one?

What is a DBS check?

A DBS check gives employers details of things like your criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands. They are usually required by organizations that work with children or vulnerable adults.

If your employer wants to DBS check you, they have to tell you why and let you know where you can get independent advice. 

Do I need a DBS check?

If your job or volunteering position requires a DBS check, your employer will let you know. You can expect to receive one for any job that involves working with children or with vulnerable adults (eg. elderly people or people with certain disabilities).

There are three kinds of check, which provide different levels of information. The type of check you need will depend on the job you are doing. Again, your employer will let you know which kind of check you need.

Your employer isn't allowed to apply for a DBS check unless you're in a role covered by the eligibility criteria, and nobody can apply for a check without your consent.

How do I get a DBS check?

You can’t apply for a DBS check directly. If you need one for a job or a voluntary position, it will be organised by the employer or organisation.

You will have to fill in a form and give identifying details such as your National Insurance number and your passport or driving licence details. You will also have to provide a list of your recent addresses.

There is a processing fee for DBS checks (£26 or £44 depending on whether you need a “Standard” or “Enhanced” check.) You should check with the organisation whether they will pay this for you. If you are a volunteer, then your DBS check should be free.

If you need to check your criminal record yourself, you can apply to Disclosure Scotland to do this (even if you do not live in Scotland). There will be a fee for this.

What if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not mean you will be automatically disqualified from jobs which require a DBS check. What happens will depend on the kind of offences on your record and the kind of work you are applying for. You will still be entitled to the protections of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

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