It’s a phrase you’ll often see on job adverts – “pending DBS check”. Jobs which involve working with children and vulnerable adults typically require this sort of check. Disclosure checks look at your criminal record with the aim of stopping people with a lengthy criminal past from getting access to their next set of victims. Employers have to err on the side of caution. Once you’ve completed your application form and submitted it, there’s not much you can do to speed things up. So, are you allowed to start work while you’re waiting for your DBS certificate to drop through the door? That very much depends on the type of job, and the employer.


Basic DBS Checks

When it comes to basic disclosure checks, employers are more likely to be lenient. A basic disclosure is just a confirmation of your current, unexpired police record. A basic disclosure isn’t a requirement for any job. It’s something that some employers might choose to do, but many don’t. Many are just happy to take your word about your criminal record and allow you to start work. You’re unlikely to be kept waiting to start a job in an office or shop because your employer demands to see a valid DBS certificate first.


Enhanced and Standard DBS Checks

These are slightly more detailed levels of checks, and are required for people working in specific industries. The technical term used for the types of jobs which need a standard or enhanced disclosure is “regulated activity”. The list of jobs is extensive, and covers everything from traffic wardens to nursery school workers. What all these jobs have in common is that they are classed as positions of trust, either involving access to people, or money.

Employers are understandably more cautious about putting people into positions of trust without thoroughly checking them out first. In these situations, they are less likely to want to allow people to start in their position without seeing their DBS certificate first. The employer’s first duty is to safeguard their customers, patients or children in their care. However, there might be ways around this. If your job requires some training before you formally start, then this can be completed before your DBS arrives. Employers might also be able to pair you up with an existing member of staff to work under supervision, or allow you to complete certain tasks only. These are the sorts of issues which are worth discussing at interview, especially if you’re desperate to start work and get your first pay packet.


Delays in DBS Applications

If your employer won’t let you start work without your check, then any delays can be frustrating. Employers will do what they can to get the process completed as soon as possible – they don’t want to be kept waiting either. But you can do your bit too by filling in the form as soon as possible, getting your documents together to prove your identity, and responding to any questions as soon as you can.