Every time there’s something in the press about the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), it’s usually in connection with children. There’s a lot of awareness about the importance of ensuring that people who volunteering or employed to work with under 18s are not a danger to them. Most people who are working in schools, as sports coaches or in other settings with children have an enhanced disclosure, which is a detailed check into their criminal record as well as showing up any cautions, warnings and other reprimands. There’s so much publicity around the issues with DBS and children that you could easily imagine that it’s only people who are working with children who need to have disclosure checks done, but this is not the case.
Gone are the days when housing associations and local Councils had their own team of maintenance people, responsible for both minor repairs and major building work in their properties. The number of Council properties has dwindled over the years, and many housing associations only manage a few dozen properties. Maintenance and repairs are still provided for tenants, but work is usually done by third party contractors – plumbers, electricians and joiners who have their own businesses and work for other clients too. Housing Associations and Councils have to do their best to make sure the companies they are using are reputable and do good quality work, but do their workers have to be DBS checked too?
Remember the two part driving licences? Up until March 2015, we all had two parts to our driving licence – the pink photocard bearing our photograph, personal details, signature and details of the classes of vehicle we were allowed to drive, and the paper part which carried details of any points which had been applied to the licence for speeding, running a red light or more serious driving offences. After March 2015 the paper driving licence part was scrapped, and any points which you get on your licence are now logged digitally on the DVLA computer rather printed on the piece of paper you carry around with you. It’s a simpler system, but does raise some problems when you’re asked to demonstrate that you have a clean driving licence – how do you do this if you can’t show your paper licence?
A recent report from Parliament showed that far fewer people had signed up to use the DBS Update service which had been hoped for. The reasons for this are unknown, but part of the reasons may be down to the fact that people don’t understand the benefits of DBS Update and can’t see how it might benefit them. Here are five of the reasons why you should consider paying the annual subscription to the service.
Think back to your teenage years. Very few of us have a clear career path set out at the stage of our lives when we’re sitting exams and having fun with our friends, and drift into doing degrees at University which play to our strengths, the subjects we were good at in school. Science types might end up on a pharmacy degree, learning all about drugs and how they work on the human body. But what sort of careers can you do with a degree in pharmacy?
Nearly everyone working in the UK is aware that there is a system in place of carrying out background checks on people who are going to be working in certain professions. This system is all about protecting the more vulnerable members of our society, such as children or adults who can’t speak up for themselves. The organisation which looks after the police checks in England and Wales is the Disclosure and Barring Service, more commonly abbreviated to DBS. A DBS check is often seen as a test of character as well as looking into your criminal past, with mentions of clean DBS checks being seen more frequently on CVs and other documents. So surely it makes sense to opt for the most detailed level of check, so you can prove to any prospective employer that you have no skeletons in the closet?
As soon as September starts, thoughts turn to getting the kids back to school. We happily wave our kids off, trusting that the people looking after them are suitable to take care of them. From a teacher’s point of view, it’s the start of another school year, with a new intake of pupils and new members of staff. It’s a busy time of year. But does the start of a new school year mean that it’s time to renew DBS paperwork too?
Our kids are more tested than ever. Starting with SATS in Year 2, it’s a constant process of testing and exams until A-levels, or Highers if you’re in Scotland. Some kids sail through the exams with the bare minimum of revision and study, whereas others find it much more challenging. Parents can of course help to some extent, but when your child is studying at an advanced level in a subject you’ve no experience with, expert help is often preferred. Getting a tutor is a very popular option, but this isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.
There are a huge number of jobs and voluntary positions which require a DBS check to be done, covering everything from working as a carer to taking an administrative position in some medical settings. For many people, getting their DBS checks completed and signed off won’t be a problem. But for some people, especially young people who have not long left school, this can be more of a challenge. The first part of any DBS check is proof of identity – establishing your name, and that the person applying for the DBS matches the photograph on the identification. Usually, the forms of identification asked for are either passport or driving licence, but what happens when you have neither?
You can’t fail to have noticed that there’s been a change in the law around data protection with the introduction of GDPR in May 2018. This is the reason why you’ve been getting all of those emails asking you to agree to continue receiving marketing material and being asked to agree to cookies every time you log onto a new website. GDPR is a way of protecting us from having our data shared without our consent and there are implications for all sorts of organisations which store personal information such as our names, addresses and phone numbers. There isn’t much data which is more sensitive than information which is shown on a DBS form, which as well as having our name, date of birth and address, may well have information about crimes we have committed in the past. So what should employers do to be keeping this information safe?