Criminal Background Checks: CRB & DBS – What Jobs Require Checks & What Do They Show?

Many jobs require criminal background checks before an applicant starts work. This is usually because the job involves contact with vulnerable individuals. The main employment areas which ask for these checks are jobs involving working with children or vulnerable adults, and healthcare workers. Other jobs which commonly request background checks might involve security, or responsibility for finances or sensitive data.

man and woman at desk conducting a criminal background check

CRB & DBS Checks

It’s estimated that around 20% of the UK population have some kind of criminal record. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was set up to allow employers to run criminal background checks on applicants they are considering offering work. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) then merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The check does not cover all occupations but is designed to protect children and other vulnerable sections of the community. This means employers can ensure that any candidate who is offered a job is suitable for the role and that nobody who comes into contact with that person is placed at risk.

There are various jobs where it is necessary to assess a candidate’s suitability by running a criminal background check.


What Shows Up In Criminal Background Checks?

There are a few different level of DBS checks, these vary depending on the nature of the role.

Basic DBS Check

This shows any unspent criminal convictions or cautions.

Standard DBS Check

Covers all convictions whether spent or unspent. It will also show cautions, reprimands, and final warnings.

Enahnced DBS Check

Enhanced checks cover all the same things as a standard check. The check will also include any information held on police records considered of relevance to the role.

Enhanced DBS with List Check

These checks cover everything an enhanched DBS check does, but will include a check of the Disclosure and Barring Service’s adult and children barred lists. These lists record adults who are barred from working with vulnerable adults and children.


Who Needs DBS Checks For Work?

There are many employment sectors which will commonly require checks into the criminal record of employees.

Working with Children

Anybody 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 DBS 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 Adults

The 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 Workers

Anybody 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.

Other Occupations Requiring Checks

Many 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 professions include people who work in the private security sector.

For example:-

  • Wheel clampers.
  • Doormen.
  • Security guards.
  • HM Customs & Excise employees.
  • Some financial and legal services roles.
  • SPCA inspectors.
  • Firearms dealers.
  • People who work in gaming or betting establishments.

Benefits to the Candidate

The CRB check 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.


Can I Still Apply For A Job with a Criminal Record?

One 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. This could be for something entirely unrelated to the job.

However, you should not be discouraged from applying 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.

For more information about the Disclosure and Barring Service, check out the Government Website

Last Updated on 11 August 2021

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