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.


Positions of Responsibility

There are many other groups of people who need to have disclosure checks too, and most of these people are in occupations which could be termed “positions of responsibility”. There is a very long list of occupations in this category, including people like prison officers who are responsible for keeping criminals locked up in prison, or people working as baggage handlers in airports. For security reasons, it is important to make sure that people putting themselves forward to work in these sorts of settings don’t have a lengthy criminal records or links to extremist groups.

A further group of people might be “responsible” not for security, but in financial terms. Not everyone who handles money and cash as part of their job will fall into the category of needing a DBS check, but people registering as a Chartered Accountant or independent financial adviser will require to have a background check to make sure they’re not out to defraud their customers. People who are having checks for these types of positions usually have a standard disclosure check rather than the enhanced ones which are more in-depth and are required for anyone working with children and vulnerable adults.


How Do I Know What Sort of Disclosure to Get?

The law is clear when it comes to disclosures and which type is required. The employee can’t decide for themselves which type of disclosure they’d like to have, and the employer isn’t free to make up their mind either. Companies have to abide by the eligibility guidance available on the government website and it’s an offence to ask someone to undergo a DBS when the position doesn’t require it. Companies must only carry out disclosure checking at the level required for the job – they can’t decide to ask for an enhanced disclosure when the job only requires a standard disclosure, for example. When you’re asked to apply for your disclosure you’ll be told which type of disclosure is being applied for. The same form is used for all types of disclosure, and you’ll need to provide documents to prove both your identity and your address. When the certificate is issued, it will clearly state what type of disclosure it is on the top of the form.