The statistics around employment fraud are shocking. Worldwide, 72% of all business fraud cases involve an employee, making financial losses an “inside job”. Managers may be at a bit of the loss about what to do to prevent this situation, apart from checking CVs for lies, and chasing up references. Could a DBS check weed out the fraudsters?


What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check is a check on someone’s criminal record. It’s the system which replaced the old CRB checks in England and Wales in 2012, although you’ll still come across plenty of references to the old name. The system was initially devised to protect vulnerable people in society such as children or the elderly. However, there are ways in which getting a DBS check can protect your business too.

Businesses operating in areas where it is compulsory for staff to have an enhanced DBS check, such as education or healthcare, should be checking staff already, and will be made aware of any convictions or cautions which are of concern. For employers where the nature of the business doesn’t meet the criteria for requesting a more detailed check, they still may be able to obtain a basic DBS check for their employees. This would cover most businesses operating in offices, retail, or hospitality.


What Will a Basic DBS Check Show?

As the name suggests, a Basic DBS check is the least detailed of all DBS checks available, but many employers take the view that it’s better than nothing. A Basic DBS certificate will show someone’s current and unspent convictions and cautions. This will tell you if the person you are employing has a recent minor criminal record, or a more serious criminal record further back in their past. Of course, not everyone with a criminal record is an automatic risk to your business. But if a basic DBS check flags up many convictions, going back over several years or decades, it would be wise to think about whether that’s actually the sort of person you want working for you.


Getting a Basic DBS Check

Employees won’t be surprised at being asked to get a basic DBS check before starting work as it’s standard practice in many industries. It’s sensible though to have a written policy on this; it would be easy to be accused of discrimination if you were only requiring DBS checks for men, or people over a certain age, for example. Either everyone gets a DBS check, or nobody does.

The application process is straightforward, and involves the applicant completing a form online, and proving their identity. For a basic DBS check, they can do this through the government online portal, and verify who they are by entering other key information such as their NI number or passport number. A certificate will be sent out in the post. Employers usually cover the cost of a basic DBS check for their employees, but there’s nothing in law compelling them to meet this cost.