Most of the articles you see online about disclosures and criminal records checks concentrate on the enhanced type of disclosure. This is the high-profile end of the disclosure spectrum. Basic disclosures are the least detailed, then standard disclosures, and finally enhanced disclosures. An enhanced disclosure details not only your most recent criminal convictions and cautions, but also older information which the police thinks might be relevant. It’s the most robust checking system which we have, but not every occupation requires such in-depth checking.
Employers are not free to decide what sort of check they want to carry out on their workers. The rules are set out by the government. Only people who are involved in regulated activity can get disclosure checks, and the type of check is dependent on the work. In most cases, regulated activity refers to work with children and vulnerable adults. People working closely with young people under the age of 18 always need a disclosure check. With adults, the definition of regulated activity is slightly different. It only covers adults who are in some way vulnerable. This could mean people who are ill in hospital, those who have learning difficulties, or elderly people who are frail and infirm. Employers should know whether the types of roles they offer fall into the category of regulated activity or not.
It’s also worth remembering that only people who work or volunteer on a regular basis need disclosure checks. If, for example, a school is looking for parents to help out on the annual trip, they won’t need a disclosure check first. Only people working on average once a week require a certificate. The organisation still needs to run risk assessments and keep child protection in mind, but disclosure checks are not required.
Main Careers Involved
Although there is a wide range of jobs which fall under the umbrella of regulated activity, there are several broad categories which most fall into.
- Childcare – anyone working regularly with children will need an enhanced disclosure check. This obviously covers people working in schools and nurseries, but also people volunteering in a local Brownie group or coaching a kids’ football team.
- Healthcare – the other major group is people working in care, or healthcare. Nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, carers who provide care in people’s own homes or in occupations such as pharmacists or opticians all need an enhanced disclosure.
Getting An Enhanced Disclosure
There is no real difference between the application process for the three different levels of disclosure. All applicants first complete the application form, either online or by using a traditional paper form. The next step is providing the right combination of identity and financial documents to prove who you are, and where you live This includes documents such as passport, driving licence, utility bills or bank statements. Then, your employer sends your enhanced disclosure off to the DBS for processing. They check the form has the required information, then the Police check their records. Finally, a certificate is printed out and sent to the applicant’s home address.