FAQ: Employers

What part of the application form do I need to complete? What do I need to do about ID, and how can I help my applicants complete the form correctly?

We have comprehensive online guides for both applicants and ID checkers, which should answer all your questions. If there's anything which isn't covered by these pages or by the rest of this FAQ, please get in touch and we'll do our best to help.

Are my staff or volunteers elegible for a DBS check?

You can find information on which job roles are elegible on the Home Office Website. If you have any questions or aren't certain whether someone you are employing is elegible, please get in touch with us and we'll do our best to help you.

My company employs tradespeople who work in places like schools or care homes. Are they elegible for a Disclosure?

They may be elegible for an Enhanced Disclosure, but this depends on the circumstances of their work. To be elegible, they have to be visiting the same premises multiple times - once a week or more, or on any four days in a single month, or overnight at any time. For example, a builder who worked in a school every day for one week would be elegible, but a builder who worked at seven different schools for one day each would not be. The circumstances of their work must also provide opportunity for them to come into contact with children or vulnerable adults, so a builder working in a school in the evenings only, when no children are present, would not be elegible.

I am looking to hire a new applicant who already has a Disclosure from a previous job. Do I need to do a new one?

You should ask your applicant if they are subscribed to the Update Service. If they are, then with their permission, you can check online to see whether their previous Disclosure is up to date, and if it is, you will not need to do a new one.

If they are not subscribed to the Update Service, then the choice of whether to accept their previous Disclsoure is entirely your decision. You should consider whether the Disclosure is equivalent to one that you would ask for - if the job role requires an Enhanced check and the applicant only has a Standard Disclosure, for example, you will probably want to have them checked again. You should also consider how old the Disclosure is and how similar the job role listed on it is to the job role you are employing the applicant for.

How do I know whether someone counts as a Volunteer?

The DBS's definition of a volunteer is "a person who is engaged in any activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travelling and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives". Additionally, the DBS does not consider people who are benefitting directly from the work they are taking part in to be volunteers, even if the benefit is not financial. This means that people who are on work experience placements, or in an unpaid trainee position that may lead to paid employment, do not count as volunteers. People who are required to do some form of unpaid work as part of the requirements for a training course they are on also do not count as volunteers - for example, a trainee teacher who is required to complete teaching placements in schools as part of their course would not count as a volunteer.

I asked someone to apply for a DBS check, but I suspect that the ID they have shown me is fake or fraudulent. What should I do?

If someone has tried to apply for a Disclosure and you believe their identity or documents to be fake, it is important that you do not proceed with the application. The DBS reccomends that you report the suspected fraud to the police via the Action Fraud website.

How long will it take for my Disclosure to be returned?

This depends on the level of Disclosure you have applied for. After we have checked your form and sent it to the DBS, Standard Disclosures are normally returned within 2 weeks, and Enhanced Disclosures within 4 weeks - but both may take longer in exceptional circumstances.

What's happening with my form?

Once the form has been sent to the DBS, you can track its progress online at the DBS website. To do this you will need to know the form reference number and the applicant's date of birth. If you have already sent us a Disclosure and didn't make a note of this information, get in touch and we can provide it.

Do I need to recheck my staff? How often do I need to do it?

Disclosures do not have an "expiry date", but currently there are only two ways to find out if an employee has committed an offence in the time since it was issued, by using the Update Service or by obtaining another Disclosure. Because of this it is good practice to have a policy of regularly checking on your staff via the Update Service, or asking them to apply for new Disclosures. How often you wish to do this is at your discretion, though if you have insurance that depends on your employees having Disclosures or are registered with a body such as the Care Quality Commission, you may want to check their guidelines.

Will I receive a copy of the Disclosure certificate itself?

No. The DBS used to send out two copies of the Certificate, one for the applicant and one for the company employing them. From the 17th June 2013, they stopped doing this, and now only send out a single copy directly to the applicant. You will have to ask them to show you their Disclosure when they receive it.

I sent in an application form, and the DBS have asked that the applicant provide fingerprints. What does this mean, and what do I have to do?

A request for fingerprints is not usually a cause for concern. All this means is that the DBS has found details of a criminal record belonging to someone with similar identity details to the applicant, and fingerprints are the only way to determine whether this criminal record belongs to the applicant or not. If this happens, you will be sent a letter explaining what you need to do. The applicant will need to provide 3 passport-style photographs of themselves, and make an appointment at their local police station for the fingerprints to be taken. The applicant is free to refuse, but the DBS will be unable to issue a Disclosure, and the charge will not be refunded.

What kind of information do you keep about applicants, and for how long?

Please see our Privacy and Data Handling Policy.

I applied for a DBS Adult First check, and it said I must wait for the Disclosure before starting this applicant. Does this mean the applicant has a criminal record?

DBS Adult First requests produce one of two responses. Usually the response will state that no match exists for the applicant on the list of those barred from working with vulnerable adults, which means that as an employer, you can legally start the applicant before the full Disclosure comes back. The other possible result will ask you to wait for the Disclosure. This does not necessarily mean that the applicant has a criminal record of any sort, and most applicants who recieve this response have Disclosures clear of any serious crimes. Sometimes the search of the list of people barred from working with vulnerable adults will uncover details of someone with similar details to your applicant's, and the only way to determine that they are not the same person is to wait for the results of the full Disclosure. This is why you may receive this response.

I requested and paid for an DBS Adult First, but the Disclosure was processed so quickly that I never got the check. What happens to the money I paid for it?

Sometimes Disclosures are processed so quickly that there is no time for an DBS Adult First check to be made. In this case, we will credit your account with the £8 that you paid but which wasn't used. You can ask us to pay this money back to you, or simply deduct it from the sum of the next payment you make to us. If you aren't sure where you stand in terms of how much you owe to us or how much credit you have on your account, please ring us and ask.

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