what you need to know about dbs checks-min.jpg

What You Need To Know About DBS Checks

For junior staff starting work at Personnel Checks, there is a steep learning curve. The knowledge required for our ops team is niche yet universal, with criminal record checks having an impact in nearly every UK industry. One minute they could be talking to a school, and the next, they could be talking to contractors for the miltary 

Every company has their own requirements and it’s the job of our ops team to help people understand best practice when it comes to background screening. We took the time to speak to five members of the ops team to discuss what they wish people new about DBS Checks. 


You can’t choose what DBS Check you want. 

“A lot of the people I speak to think they can order whatever level of check that they like, which isn’t the case. People need to make sure they are eligible for the checks first before buying them” 

Libby Domanski-Wardell – Customer Service Apprentice 

Libby makes a good point, this is something the ops team come across all the time. Although anyone can have a Basic DBS Check carried out, the Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks come with strict eligibility criteria. Only people working in regulated activity can obtain these checks 

Eligibility is a complex and ever-changing area of legislation. As industries develop and respond to new challenges, the eligibility for DBS checks change with it. If you are ever unsure of whether you or your candidates are eligible, give us a call. We can help guide you through. 


Standard and Basic DBS Checks aren’t the same! 

“One of the most common pieces of confusion I see in my team is between these two checks. It’s understandable really, Standard and Basic practically mean the same thing!” 

Ayesha Ahmed – Customer Experience Lead & Senior Countersignatory 

This is something Ayesha’s team deals with commonly and its understandably confusing. When the words used to describe two different things are synonyms, things are bound to get mixed-up. As mentioned, anyone can have the Basic DBS Check, but the Standard DBS Checks are reserved for meeting certain regulatory requirements. 

For example, Solicitors entering their profession are eligible for a Standard DBS CheckThese checks show any details of any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings (apart from protected convictions and cautions). 

On the other hand, a legal secretary in the same office, would only be eligible for the Basic DBS Check. These checks only show any unspent convictions on someone’s record. 


We aren’t the DBS! 

I get calls from applicants everyday who haven’t run a DBS Check through Personnel Checks. Most of these calls are from people who think we are the Disclosure and Barring Service [DBS].” 

Sammie Martin – Applicant Engagement Lead & Senior Countersignatory 

While Sammie is happy to help anyone who needs advice, a lot of these queries are questions we just cannot answer. Personnel Checks are one of the countries top DBS Umbrella BodiesThis means we help organisations obtain DBS Checks for their employees and assist with the checking process. 

The DBS, are a non-departmental government body that carry out criminal record checks and maintain the Child & Adult Barring Lists. Every DBS Umbrella Body in the UK submits the applications they process to this body. The DBS then run the checks and issue the certificates 

It is the DBS who are resonsible for guidance on legislation, eligibility and the filtering of convictions. 


The importance of ID verification 

“Confirming a candidates ID are valid and match their application form, is an essential part of any DBS applicationWhen errors happen it causes huge problems further down the line 

Humaira Zaheer  Business Sales Executive 

Before joining the sales team, Humaira was one of our senior countersignatories. This is something she can’t stress enough. Errors from incorrect ID verification are one of the most common reasons that the DBS withdraw checks from the process.  

There are many reasons this is done wrong. From our experience, it can stem from the ID verifier knowing their applicants too well. This can lead to people underestimating the importance of this step. The purpose of the ID verification is not only to confirm the applicant is who they say they are, it’s to check their application form is correct.   

You’d be amazed at how many people accidentally enter their personal details wrong. The two most common being their date of birth and home address. Errors like these mean the DBS can withdraw the check. Not only does this mean you have to start the check again, you would be liable for payment. 

We always recommend checking, checking again and then checking some more. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!  


We can’t fast-track your DBS Check 

“Some of the councils we work with have fast-track procedures when applying for their licence. A lot of drivers think it’s the same for DBS checks but there’s no way we can speed it up” 

Chloe Hollister – TaxiPlus Division Team Leader 

We can see why some taxi drivers make this assumption but it’s not a question exclusive to that industry. A lot of people new to DBS checks think that there is a paid option to fast-track DBS checks. While I’m sure it would make Chloe’s life easier if we did, unfortunately we can’t. 

All DBS applications that are submitted are processed by the same body, the Disclosure and Barring Service. Each application is subject to the same process regardless of which body submits themUnfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous companies out there that market themselves as fast-track DBS providers. 

They do this by taking advantage of their knowledge of a complicated industry. On the DBS website, it states that DBS checks on average take between 6-8 weeks. Butit is generally uncommon for checks to take that long. 

Most Basic DBS checks are back within 48 hours, Standard DBS’ in about a week and the average turnaround for the Enhanced DBS is around 2 weeks. The average is brought up considerably by the fact there is no maximum length of time a DBS check can take. ‘Fast-track’ DBS providers generally use some form of clever wording to make it seem as though they are offering a premium service. 


And that concludes our catch up with the ops team! 

If you've read anything here that you need some more info on, get in touch. You can give us a call on 01254 355688 or drop us an email anytime at [email protected] 


Leave a comment