There are many different occupations in the UK which are advertised as requiring enhanced disclosure, or enhanced police checks. This can all sound a bit worrying if you don’t understand the system, but in most cases checking is very straightforward and nothing to be concerned about.

What Jobs Need Enhanced Disclosure

The types of jobs which require detailed checking are set out by the government and concern “regulated activity”. It’s not up to employers to decide who gets checked and who doesn’t; it depends on what their role entails. Enhanced checks are all about protecting vulnerable adults or children from people who have a criminal past, or whose criminal record suggests they could pose a risk in the future. The sorts of occupations or voluntary roles which routinely require this type of check are jobs working in schools, social workers, sports coaches, nurses, doctors or nursery and playgroup workers.

Getting the Checks Done

Your employer or voluntary organisation will usually guide you through the process of getting the checks done. The exact process will depend on whether you are in Scotland, Northern Ireland or England and Wales, but all follow the same basic pattern. First you fill in a form with your basic details like name, address and date of birth, then you prove your identity with documents such as passport, driving licence and bank statements. The forms are then submitted to the relevant body, who search the records. Finally, you are issued with a form stating criminal convictions and cautions, if there are any.

What’s on the form?

Enhanced checking is by nature more detailed than other types of checking as the positions involve working with the most vulnerable groups in society. Unlike other types of police checks where you are allowed to disregard convictions which happened a long time ago, or when you were under the age of 18, that is not the case with enhanced checking. All convictions and cautions will be shown on the form, and the employer will make the decision based on what is on the record. This is done on a case by case basis; a caution for shoplifting aged 14 is unlikely to stop you pursuing a career in medicine, but several arrests or cautions for drugs over the course of 10 years might.

Paying for your Checks

Not everyone pays for having checks done. Volunteers can apply for free checking through their umbrella organisation. Some employers are happy to cover the cost of checking up on people who they will be employing, whereas others will ask employees to foot the bill themselves. Ask about the policy when you attend interview. Even if you have a check done for a previous employer, you will probably be asked to go through the process again.

Duration of Enhanced Checks

There is no expiry date on DBS checks, which should be thought of as a snapshot. They show your criminal record at a given point, and cautions or convictions after that date are not automatically added. Usually, employers will ask for new checks every couple of years.