DBS system user guides
A DBS check is just one part of safer recruitment. Taking up a criminal records check is the last stage of an appointment procedure.
The Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, says: ‘The public rightly expects charities to be safe and trusted environments where people are protected from harm, including the charity’s own staff and volunteers. So all charities need to be alert to the importance of safeguarding those who come into contact with them’.
The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable groups including children and wants to see a focused and effective safeguarding system where harm or risk of harm is found, acted upon effectively and ultimately prevented. The Government maintains that the State has a key role to play in, for example, barring unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable groups including children, and in ensuring that organisations can access criminal record information on individuals when the role justifies it. Under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, employers have certain responsibilities, and the following regulations apply:
- Employers, social services and professional regulators have a duty to refer to the DBS any information about individuals for whom they are responsible and who are believed to pose a risk to children or adults with care and support needs (where they are working in Regulated Activity).
- If your organisation works with children or vulnerable adults and you dismiss a member of staff or a volunteer (who were working in Regulated Activity) because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, or you would have done so if they had not left prior to your intended dismissal, you must tell the Disclosure and Barring Service. This also applies if a worker resigns before any action is taken; or if you remove them from Regulated Activity and place them in another role.
- A person who is barred from working with children or vulnerable adults will be breaking the law (and liable to prosecution incurring imprisonment and/or a fine) if they work or volunteer, or try to work or volunteer in Regulated Activity. An organisation which that knowingly employs someone who is barred to work with those groups will also be breaking the law (and liable to prosecution incurring imprisonment and/or a fine).
Further information on the procedure for referrals to the DBS can be found on the DBS website at gov.uk/making-barring-referrals-to-the-dbs or by phoning the Barring helpline on 03000 200190.
Unless a job is exempt under the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 then an Enhanced check is not legally possible. This means that most people who work directly with children or perform personal care are eligible for an Enhanced DBS check. This meets the expectations of most Christian denominations, insurance companies and the Charity Commission (where the charity works with children or vulnerable adults).
Access to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks is controlled by the law. As a general position, eligibility to apply for a DBS check is not based on an applicant’s job title but is established by looking at the activities and responsibilities carried out by each individual role. It’s important to make sure that legislation allows a DBS check to be submitted to make sure the applicant’s data protection rights are not breached.
Our interactive eligibility guide will help you decide whether or not a role meets the eligibility criteria set by the DBS based on the responsibilities and duties of the role.
The login details for accessing the eligibility guide are different to those used for managing applications, so contact us on 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) if you need any assistance with accessing this resource.
Basic Disclosures are useful where a role is not eligible for an Enhanced or Standard check but where the role requires (or publicly indicates) a certain level of trust by the church or organisation. This could include roles such as worship leaders, those offering transport to/from events, administrators, welcomers, preachers, caretakers, refreshment team etc.
There is no cost extra for your organisation to be enabled to submit Basic Disclosures, to sign up for this service, please contact us on 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) or email [email protected]
If you are part of a large organisation or denomination, please check that they are happy for your organisation to process Basic Disclosures first.
Before you give the applicant access to a DBS application form, they must have an opportunity to self-declare any relevant information. For Enhanced DBS checks only they should complete and return to you a Self-declaration Form. (Unless this is a renewal disclosure application, and your contract contains a clause requiring the applicant to disclose any warning, reprimand or conviction history.) The Self-declaration Form can be downloaded here. If applying for a Basic Disclosure, you cannot ask they complete a self-declaration
Church of England only: Churches who are part of the Church of England should use all Confidential Declaration Form unless the diocese has specifically instructed you to use our self-declaration form.
You must show all Confidential Declaration Forms which have convictions or other relevant information to your Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. This is a requirement of the Church of England National office and must be done BEFORE processing a DBS application form.
Basic Disclosures are useful where a role is not eligible for an Enhanced check but where the role requires (or publicly indicates) a certain level of trust by the church or organisation. This could include roles such worship leaders, those offering transport to/from events, administrators, welcomers, preachers, caretakers, refreshment team etc.
A Basic Disclosure involves a search of the Police National Computer (PNC) for details of all current convictions. The disclosure will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/basic-checks )
Anyone can apply as long as they live or work in the UK (those living/working in Scotland will need to apply via Disclosure Scotland). The DBS fee is £18.00 per check (no difference for paid or volunteer workers) plus our admin fee (the same as you already pay for your Enhanced checks).
Please remember that a Basic Disclosure should never be used in place of an Enhanced Disclosure.
If you would like your account to be enabled to process Basic Disclosures, please click the button below.
If you are part of a diocese or another large organisation, please check that they are happy for your organisation to process Basic Disclosures.
A DBS check is only as good as the information on a particular day, based on the adequacy of identity/address checks carried out by an organisation. Information is, of course, out of date as soon as it’s issued and you cannot assume that you will be informed of any subsequent concerns. Therefore the only way we advise that you accept a certificate issued to another organisation is if the applicant has registered for the DBS Update Service and already has the exact same level of check required. If applicants register for this then there will also be no need for renewals as you can frequently check online that there has been no new information issued.
Care must be taken that the level of check required for the new role is exactly the same as the one that is registered with the Update Service – it can’t be at a higher or lower level or for a different workforce. As there are several different levels of check and workforce, experience has shown that the use of the Update Service is often not a viable option.
For more information on the DBS Update Service click here.
If you are recruiting people from overseas and wish to check their overseas criminal record, a DBS check may not provide a complete picture of their criminal record. This is because the DBS cannot currently access most criminal records held overseas.
For guidance on how to access criminal record checks from overseas click here.
We have generally advised that churches and organisations carry out checks every three years but you should also check with your insurance company and your organisation’s Head Office (if applicable) to see what they require. If you ever had any concerns about a worker; or they were in a role with a high level of contact then you could ask them to apply for a renewal at any interval.
A check is only as good as the information on a particular day, based on the adequacy of identity/address checks carried out by the recruiter. Information is, of course, out of date as soon as it’s issued and you cannot assume that you will be informed of any subsequent concerns. In addition to regular rechecks, we advise having a clause in a worker’s contract obliging an individual to inform the organisation of any subsequent police/social services involvement, clearly placing the onus on the individual to let you know.
Each organisation must have a Lead Recruiter, however, it is recommended that there is at least one other Recruiter appointed to help with processing disclosures.
Just call on 0303 003 11 11 (option 1) or email us at [email protected] to be provided with the appropriate form for making Recruiter changes to your organisation.
The cost per check is different depending on a number of factors. A full list of our current costs can be found at thirtyoneeight.org/our-prices
Thirtyone:eight seek only to cover the costs of processing your check, and hosting our secure online system. Our charges are significantly lower than the majority of other Registered Bodies.
We do not charge extra for providing our advice and guidance on good working practice or individual appointments.
Our charges may vary from time to time due to changes in charges made by the DBS and other external factors. You will always be notified of any changes well in advance.
Our data is securely hosted in the UK by Security Watchdog – which means full compliance with UK data protection law.
The system works to global best practice standards and Security Watchdog holds an internationally recognised certificate in information security management (ISO 27001 Accredited). The system is regularly tested and monitored (including vulnerability and penetration testing) – which ensures the security of the data is never compromised.
All confidential data is encrypted using an advanced combination of three encryption techniques in addition to regular backups – which prevent unauthorised access. Security Watchdog's high-security data centre operates the latest monitoring and protection systems – including sophisticated anti-virus and online security programmes.