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?


Regulated Work

Despite this commonly held belief that the most detailed level of background checking, known as the Enhanced Disclosure is the best, the fact is that it’s not up to the applicant to decide what sort of check gets done. The government has pulled together a very long list of occupations and voluntary positions and the appropriate level of checking required for each. If you’re going to be working in a school, or as a carer going into people’s homes and helping disabled people with personal care, you will require an Enhanced Disclosure. However, if you’re applying for a job as a traffic warden, medical secretary or maintenance staff in a hospital, only a Standard Disclosure is required. Employers have to stick to the law and only carry out the level of checking which is required for that particular role.


Different Roles, Different Checks

It’s entirely possible that one person has more than one Disclosure check for different parts of their life. Someone who works as a medical secretary in a hospital will require a Standard Check for their NHS employer. If that same person volunteers as a leader with their local Brownie pack in the evening, they will require an Enhanced Check for that purpose. Each organisation will require a separate application to be made, which can be time consuming for both the employer and the worker. There are ways around this however by registering with the DBS update service, which allows you to log on and view your DBS records online and give employers access to them too.


Why Not Give Everyone a Detailed Check?

Not everyone is given the most detailed level of check for two reasons. Firstly, it’s an invasion of privacy to ask people to disclose all aspects of their criminal past if they have nothing to do with the role under consideration. Secondly, the legal system in the UK believes that people who do have minor offences in their past should be given the chance to turn over a new leaf. Detailed checks show all convictions and cautions, however old and this may put people off from applying from any roles which they know require checking.