Management March 23, 2015 Last updated February 21st, 2020 1,665 Reads share

Have Your Staff Got a Past You Don’t Know About?

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The hiring process can often be arduous and time consuming. Not only is it vital that you recruit someone who is capable of fulfilling the job role, you also need to find a potential employee that you can really trust.

There is only so much that you can learn about someone from their CV and interview skills, so how can you be sure that you are hiring the right person? A DBS check is one way to be sure.

A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, in essence, is a clearing process designed to filter out people who should be barred from working with vulnerable people.  The DBS maintain two separate lists which are constantly being updated. The first list contains names and details of those who are barred from working with children. The other is a list of those who are barred from working with adults. If you are seeking a job which involves a regulated activity such as child protection, you won’t be able to do so if you are listed as barred by the DBS.

In addition to this, organisations and companies must inform the DBS if a member of their staff has caused harm to a vulnerable person. Here, I’ll  take you through a few factors which influence companies’ decision making when it comes to DBS checks.


The new DBS system has replaced the former CRB process, and the result has been a faster, cheaper and more efficient system. More companies are carrying them out simply because it is pretty time-efficient.

Imagine you hire the ideal person, only to discover evidence of bad character traits a few months into the job? You then have to let the employee go, losing valuable time and business while you start the recruitment process once again, possibly to relive the same issue. A DBS check eliminates this from occurring, as any criminal discrepancies are revealed from the onset.

The new service came to the fore in 2012 and is largely online based. A worker is now able to take his verification from job to job as opposed to applying for a new CRB each time, and employers are able to keep up to date with records on the internet. Convenience is certainly a factor in the increasing number of DBS checks being carried out.

Recruitment Safety

By carrying out DBS checks from a reliable source, you are taking the first steps towards safe and reliable recruitment. You can have your own vetting processes in place in the shape of checking
qualifications, educational history and work references As previously mentioned, while these are fine, you don’t want to find yourself a few months down the line with an unchecked employee involved in a major incident. By running these simple checks you are arming yourself with some key information about your possible new employee.

In addition, by advertising the fact that you conduct DBS checks you are erecting your first line of defence against people looking to pull the wool over your eyes. Anybody who might be looking to sneak around the system will be put off when they realise they will be subject to checks.

Regulation Changes

The definition of a regulated activity has changed and it is more essential than ever that a business is aware of exactly who is working for them.

If a company knowingly allows a person who is barred to work in a regulated activity, they are breaking a very serious law. The new definition is designed to target those who work at close quarters with vulnerable people, such as in the childcare and care home industry.  Recently, it’s been scaled back to ensure sharper focus and as a result, the consequences of operating outside the regulations are severe for businesses.


Many businesses avoid conducting DBS checks because they think that they are an unnecessary cost. However, for a business, the risk of hiring someone with an unknown criminal conviction could cost you much more than the fee of a few DBS checks.

According to a report by Experian, employee fraud costs UK businesses approximately £2bn a year. Yet, the research also revealed that 90% of application fraud can be detected with screening and can therefore be stopped.

DBS checks don’t have to be costly, in reality you would only require a few candidates and current employees to go through the process. With basic disclosure checks starting at an average of £40 per individual, the question is, can you really afford not to invest in DBS checks?


Everybody wants to know that they are working with a professional service, and by stating that you require your staff to have updated DBS checks you are creating a circle of trust between your customers and your business.

Customers know that when they enlist the help of your company they are using a service that not only employs staff members capable of delivering excellent service, but those who also meet government regulations and safety standards. This will position yourself much higher in the customer’s mind, compared to your competitors who may not be as vigilant with the requirements for their staff to have DBS checks.


The government clearly states that DBS checks should never be used to discriminate against individuals based on their criminal records. It is actually against the law to refuse to offer someone a role, purely based on their criminal history.

Of course, there are a few exceptions where the criminal activity must overrule the final employment decision. An individual whose name appears on the Child Barred list would under no circumstances be accepted when applying for a position in a school. However, in other instances the business must use the information provided by the DBS check to guide their recruitment process, rather than it being a definitive answer.

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Heather Gilroy

Heather Gilroy

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