Around one in four of the UK adult population will suffer from a mental health problem every year. Talking about mental health has been taboo, but we’re finally starting to opening up as a nation and talk about mental health issues. Mental health covers a wide spectrum from people who might feel down at times to people who are ill enough to need care in hospital. Once recovered, experts agree that getting a job is a good step to recovery and mental health management for many people, but people who have had some sort of health crisis in the past which required police involvement are often very concerned about what will be shown on a DBS check into their criminal records.
Standard DBS Checks
A standard DBS check will not include any information about your mental health, and will only disclose convictions which are unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Of course, it may be the case for some that offences were committed while their mental health was poor, and these will still be disclosed. Standard DBS checks are carried out on people who are working in the legal and financial industries, or in settings such as hospitals but without direct contact with patients. Employers will look at the information disclosed on a case by case basis.
Enhanced DBS Checks
It’s really the enhanced level of DBS checks which are of most concern to people who have mental health problems in their past. Enhanced checks show much more information than the standard checks, detailing not only recent convictions, but also spent convictions and cautions as well as any Police Intelligence information which the Police feels might be relevant to the position being applied for. This is where the issue lies – back in 2014 a Home Office committee raised concerns that the Police were disclosing information which was not relevant, and which was not in proportion to the job being discussed. People who were in the past seriously mentally ill and were sectioned by the Police under the Mental Health Act found that this information was being disclosed in the future, and it was affecting their chances of getting a job.
Deciding What Information to Include
New guidelines have been issued by the government on including mental health information on DBS checks. The main consideration is that the information must be relevant. When deciding whether to disclose information, the Police also weigh up the time since the incident, and conduct since. The source of the information should also be considered. The main point to remember is that on its own, information about your mental health is unlikely to be appropriate for disclosure.
Withdrawal of Offer
Most employers are working hard to be inclusive and help people with mental health problems back into the workforce. If a job offer is withdrawn because of mental health disclosures, you might be able to challenge it under disability discrimination. Employers are not allowed to decide not to give you a job because you’ve been mentally ill in the past.