Criminal Background Checks
It's estimated that around 20% of the UK population have some kind of criminal record even if it's only for a minor misdemeanour. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was set up to allow employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to run a background check on all job applicants whom they might be considering offering work to.
The check does not encompass all occupations but is designed to protect children and other vulnerable sections of the community so that employers can ensure that any candidate who is subsequently offered a job is suitable for the role and that nobody who comes into contact with that person is placed at risk in any way.
There are various categories where it is necessary to ascertain a candidate’s suitability by running a criminal background check.
Working with ChildrenAnybody who intends to Work with Children under the age of 18, or who may even come into contact with them during the course of their job are subject to a background check. This includes teachers, classroom assistants, child minders, people applying for adoption and people applying to become a foster carer. If the contact is to be in a person’s own home, then everybody living in the house will be subject to a background check, regardless of whether or not they are the ones making the application to work with children.
Working with Vulnerable AdultsThe background check extends to anybody who will be looking to work in the provision of care services to vulnerable adults. This incorporates working with people over 18 who have a learning or physical disability or a physical or mental illness.
Healthcare WorkersAnybody intending to work in the healthcare profession is also subject to a CRB check. For example, GPs, nurses, midwives, surgeons, dentists, psychologists, osteopaths, vets, chemists etc.
Finance & LawAnybody working within the financial services sector or law sector will also be required to have a CRB check.
Other OccupationsMany other professions are also subject to being vetted through the CRB before a person can be deemed suitable to take a job within the profession. Some of the more common ones include people who work in the private security sector, e.g. wheel clampers, doormen, security guards, those working in HM Customs & Excise, RSPCA inspectors, firearms dealers and people who work in any kind of gaming or betting establishment.
However, the occupations stated above are by no means exclusive to those which require a CRB background check but you will always be notified during the application process if this applies to the particular job you are interested in.
Benefits to the CandidateThe process is not designed to be intrusive upon an individual’s private life or background but to simply safeguard vulnerable sections of society. In fact, in having passed the check, you will be provided with the Disclosure which states that you have passed which you will then be able to use to apply for other similar roles. Having passed the check, it also demonstrates your commitment to applying for specific roles which require the Disclosure.
The Disclosures come in two varieties. A Standard Disclosure details all the convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands held on the Police National Computer (PNC). Further information will come from the Protection of Children Act List and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults Act list. A further source will come from the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) who have a list of those deemed unsuitable to work with children or banned from working with them.
An Enhanced Disclosure covers all the elements above with the added extra of any further information that may be relevant which is held by a local police force but which may not be recorded on the PNC. This does not mean that the person is considered more of a risk simply that they will be working within closer more direct contact in one of the occupations stated above.
Data Protection IssuesOne of the most common reasons for people being put off applying for jobs that require a CRB check is that they might have a criminal record for something entirely unrelated to the job which they want to apply for. However, they should not be discouraged as it is against the law to discriminate against anybody who has a criminal record where the crime committed has no bearing on the risk factors of them being able to carry out the job.
Likewise, not all applicants will receive a CRB check, only those who the company or organisation have decided to offer the job to in principle, will be required to have a CRB check run on them.