If you’re in the jobs market, you’ll often see some vacancies advertised as needing a DBS check, or stating that the applicant must undergo police checks before starting the position. In the UK, not all employers are allowed to carry out checks on new employees. The law is quite strict regarding which types of jobs require this sort of check to be carried out. Although many application forms will ask whether the person applying for the job has any criminal convictions, this is not the same as asking someone to complete a check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), or equivalent bodies in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Working with Children and Adults
The main group of people who will require a DBS check or similar to take up their employment (or a voluntary position) are people who work with children or vulnerable adults. There is a long list of occupations which fall into this category. For working with children this includes teaching, nursery workers, social workers, people who run after school groups for children, Scout and Guide leaders and so on. The vulnerable adults category includes people working in hospitals, care homes, care workers who visit elderly or disabled people in their own homes and drivers who take people to and from hospitals. The Disclosure and Barring Service can give advice over the phone to employers about whether they need to check the people working for them, and also to employees who are unsure whether their employer is justified in asking for checks to be done.
Positions of Responsibility
A second main group of people who have to undergo checks are people in positions of responsibility, or positions which involve some sort of standing or professional reputation in the community, whether or not they are involved in working with children or vulnerable adults. This group includes chartered accountants, veterinary surgeons, barristers, officers in the court service, people who work in prisons, people working for the Tax Office, locksmiths, traffic wardens or probation officers. The checks on these people are carried out to assess whether there is anything in their past which could either bring the profession into disrepute or could influence their ability to do their job – obviously, you wouldn’t want a prolific burglar registering as a master locksmith or someone with a history of tax evasion and fraud working for HMRC where they could have the possibility of embezzling money.
Checks are also carried out on people who apply to hold certain types of licence. The strictest checks are carried out on anyone who applies for a firearms licence, and checks are also done on people who apply to have a National Lottery terminal in their shop, or to have a gambling licence to run a betting shop, raffles, casinos or other events which involve people trusting them with large sums of money. Local councils or the other bodies which give out licences for gambling or selling alcohol can give advice on which sort of checks need to be done, and how to apply for them.