Disclosure and barring service (DBS) check

DBS (criminal record) checks help employers ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with those who are considered vulnerable because of certain circumstances (for example, they are in receipt of health or social care).

A DBS (criminal record) check relates to the data held about a person’s criminal history.  In the majority of cases, a check will include all criminal offence including cautions, convictions, reprimands, and final warnings.  It may also include traffic offences such as speeding and drink-driving.

Employers must carefully consider any criminal history data alongside other information they have gathered about the candidate as part of the wider recruitment process.

Not all NHS staff will require a criminal record check (DBS), the level of check required is determined by the type of activities the individual in that role will be undertaking and the level of access this will allow them to have with patients.

Candidates who require a DBS Check will be advised in the job advert and conditional offer letter. The DBS will be carried out as part of the pre-employment process and the offer of appointment will be subject to satisfactory DBS clearance and registration with the DBS Update Service (for enhanced level checks or for those subject to the fit and proper persons test).

DBS checks are completed online via Trac the Trusts recruitment management system; therefore, unless a certificate contains a disclosure, candidates will not have to attend an appointment for verification of the DBS certificate.

DBS for overseas candidates – for those candidates who are recruited from overseas the DBS should be supplemented by requisite police checks from the country of origin.  These checks must be in line with the individual’s countries justice system and take account of best practice as outlined by NHS Employers.  A DBS check must also be obtained prior to employment even if the candidate claims never to have lived in the UK.  This should be supplemented by a police check in the country of origin.  Cases involving asylum seekers, refugees etc may make it more difficult to carry out criminal record checks. The DBS website https://www.gov.uk offers up to date advice in this area and details how individuals may obtain a criminal record or certificate of good conduct from overseas.

It is Trust policy that no appointment should commence before the appropriate DBS clearance has been obtained.  In very exceptional circumstances, where service users may be placed at risk or a service cannot be provided because of staffing levels an individual may be allowed to work within the service pending the outcome of a DBS Disclosure with the consent of the Recruiting Manager and supported by the Chief Operating Officer for the Division. 

Types of DBS Checks

Standard DBS Check

This checks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.

Enhanced DBS Check

This includes the same as the Standard DBS Check plus any additional information held by local police forces that is reasonably considered relevant to the workforce being applied for (adult, child or ‘other’ workforce).

‘Other’ workforce means those who do not work with children or adults specifically, but potentially both. In this case, the police will only release information that is relevant to the post being applied for.

Enhanced DBS with Barred List(s) Check

This is an Enhanced DBS check, but includes a check of the DBS Adult and/or Child Barred lists.

The level of check will be validated by the Recruitment Team as part of the recruitment process.

DBS Checks will be requested when:

  • The applicant has never had a DBS check with Mersey Care and the position they are applying for is eligible for a DBS check.
  • The applicant is an existing member of staff who is moving to a new role which requires a different type/level of check.

Information obtained through disclosures assists in making an informed decision on whether or not to appoint a prospective employee. The decision rests with the employer as to whether to employ a person whose DBS certificate reveals a conviction or other information.

A person’s criminal record will be considered in light of all the relevant circumstances and judged on a case by case basis.

DBS update service

Registration with the DBS update service is mandatory for new starters in those roles that require an Enhanced DBS check this allows the Trust (or any other potential employer) to go online and check whether there is any new, known criminality information.

Applicants are required to pay the cost of registering their DBS with the update service which is £13 at the point of registration.

Although not mandatory, a Standard DBS check can be registered with the DBS update service at a cost of £13 per year.

Registration with the DBS update service is mandatory for all new bank staff, whether they require a standard or enhanced DBS.