There’s a lot of confusion around the UK’s system for checking people who apply to work with groups of people classed as vulnerable, such as children or the elderly. This is partly because England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland all have different systems, which use different names. To add to the confusion further, many people are still using the old acronym of CRB or Criminal Records Bureau, even though this organisation changed its name years ago. In addition to the police checking which applicants for certain jobs undergo, there are also Barred Lists which are searched when someone applies for specific positions.
There is a whole range of jobs and volunteer opportunities in the UK which require DBS checking – a system of checking through police records to weed out people with a serious criminal past, or those who have a history of abuse or crimes against children or vulnerable adults. These checks apply to everyone, including people who have recently arrived in the UK from overseas. One of the main points of confusion is who should pay for the DBS checking, and with prices ranging from £26 for a basic check to £44 for a more detailed certificate, does this mean that people who regularly move from job to job will be significantly out of pocket?
According to public statistics, there are around 15 million people in the UK who volunteer at least once a month. Volunteers undertake a whole host of roles in the community, from working in shops belonging to one of the large national chains, to organising fundraising events for smaller, local charities. Not all volunteers need to undergo DBS checking, but the recent revelations about historic sex abuse in sporting clubs means that there in more emphasis than ever on making sure that volunteers are properly checked out to ensure they are fit people to hold the position.
Nobody can argue that DBS checking for people planning to work with children or other vulnerable groups. It can however be very frustrating for people who have accepted a new position but have to wait for weeks or even longer for their checks to be completed and to start work. New figures released by an independent company which helps people submit their DBS check paperwork have thrown up continuing huge discrepancies between the fastest and slowest Police forces.
One of the key requirements of the DBS scheme is for employers and people who organise volunteers to make sure that the people who are presenting themselves and asking for a DBS check to be done are who they say they are. Often this process is confused with the checks which employers do to satisfy themselves that their new worker has the right to work in the UK. It’s not the same thing at all, and although the documents may be similar, workers may have to go through two separate processes.
Several high profile cases where women were murdered by partners who had not disclosed their violent past led to the Police implementing a trial of new legislation which has been dubbed “Clare’s Law”, after Clare Wood, murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2009. The scheme – which is officially called the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme – has now been rolled out across the country. Similar legislation known as “Sarah’s Law” allows parents to ask for Police to disclose whether someone who has access to a child has certain convictions. So, what exactly can you find out?
Most of us know what DBS checking, and often DBS – or the older term of CRB – is used to describe the process across the UK. In fact, DBS checking through the Disclosure and Barring Service is only used in England and Wales, and there are separate processes for those living in Scotland and Northern Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the body which administers police checking is called Access NI, so here’s a guide to getting police checks done if you’re living or applying for a job in Northern Ireland.
Over the years, the process for being checked out as a suitable person to work with children od vulnerable adults has changed considerably. Many of the changes recognise the fact that checking was not dynamic; the check was done at one given point in time and any information which came to light after that point would not be disclosed until the person concerned came to renew their DBS check or moved to another job elsewhere. The DBS Update service sets out to address some of these issues with DBS checks in an attempt to streamline the procedure.
Sometimes, dealing with the government appears to be a never-ending list of abbreviations and acronyms. If you’re confused about all these letters and what they might mean, read on for a simple guide.
Most of us are used to the idea of going through a process of checking when applying for a certain type of job or when volunteering to go into our child’s school and help out with reading or crafts. But what is less known is that some people enrolling on a University course might have to go through the process too, and that offers won’t be confirmed until a satisfactory check has been carried out. In the worst case scenario, this could mean someone passing all of their exams with top grades, flying through an interview, yet still being turned down because of something on their Police record.