What To Do With DBS Results – Employer Advice

dbs results

When getting a DBS check for employers, you must be aware of what the returned information means, so you can make an informed decision when hiring. Whether it is a Basic, Standard, or Enhanced DBS check, the returned DBS results are often the deciding factor for many employers when it comes to making a recruitment decision.

However, it is important to remember that in many cases, it’s classed as illegal discrimination to not employ someone based on their criminal history.

In this guide, we’ll discuss what, as an employer, you can do with the information that returns on an individual’s DBS check, and how you should proceed with the applicant/candidate.

How do I See my applicants’ DBS results?

After the DBS Check has been completed, the DBS results certificate will be posted to the applicant’s current address. It is up to them whether to disclose the certificate, and with whom – but obviously, if they decline to show you their certificate, you are within your rights to rescind your offer of employment.

Before the certificate is returned, the DBS will provide the Umbrella Body responsible for facilitating the check with a summary of the results. With the applicant’s permission, this can be shared with the employer, but it is not a valid legal document and may not be used instead of the certificate. The summary will say either:

Certificate contains no information:
The DBS is confident that the applicant has no criminal history that would show on their check.

Please wait to view certificate:
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the applicant has a criminal record, just that there’s a chance they do – the DBS is still checking.

What shows up on DBS certificates?

This depends on the type of DBS check that’s been applied for. If your applicant comes back with a clear DBS check, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they have no criminal record. Below, we will discuss what will appear on each type of DBS check.

Basic DBS Check – This will only contain details of any unspent convictions or conditional cautions the applicant has. Any spent conditions/cautions will not appear on a Basic DBS check.

Standard DBS Check – Going one further than the Basic, a Standard DBS check contains both spent and unspent convictions, cautions and reprimands.

Enhanced DBS Check – Discloses both spent and unspent convictions, as well as any non-criminal record information the UK’s local police forces determine is relevant to the role being applied for. On top of this, an Enhanced DBS check can also include a search of the DBS’s Children and/or Adult Barred List.

The Filtering of Convictions

After becoming spent, most minor offences and offences committed while under 18 will eventually become “filtered”, and won’t show up on any level of DBS check.

DBS Check Eligibility

You must also bear in mind that Standard and Enhanced DBS checks may only be requested if the role they are due to work in is eligible for that level of check. You can use the government’s DBS Eligibility Tool to work out what level of check your staff are entitled to.

What’s The Difference Between Spent and Unspent Convictions?

Spent Convictions
These are convictions and cautions that, according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974, should not influence employment decisions. You must not discriminate against candidates based on spent convictions!

Unspent Convictions
These are more recent or more serious convictions that have not yet become ‘spent’. As an employer, you are permitted to take unspent offences into account when making hiring decisions.
There are some convictions that will never become ‘spent’, depending on the sentence handed down and the offender’s age. There’s a helpful table on the gov.uk website that you can use to calculate when/if a conviction will become spent.

What Employers Should Do If The DBS Results Show Criminal History

What should employers do if their applicants’ DBS results disclose a criminal record?

If your applicant’s DBS certificate shows that they have an unspent criminal record, there’s no need to immediately reject them for the role. We would recommend doing the following before making an employment decision:

1. Check The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
The act recommends that you consider:

  • Is the crime relevant to the position?
  • What was the nature of the crime?
  • How long ago was it?
  • Was it one crime, or multiple ones?
  • How old was the person when they committed the crime?

2. Talk To The Candidate!
Everyone deserves a chance to explain themselves. Circumstances are different for everyone, so having an open, honest chat with the applicant about their record should help you gather more information. However, if the conviction is not relevant to the role, it might be best not to bring it up.

Of course, it should also go without saying that the results of this check should remain confidential. Without consent from the candidate, you have no right to discuss the results with other people – doing so would be a breach of Data Protection laws.

Can I hire somebody with criminal history on their DBS results?

In most cases, it’s fine to hire someone who has a criminal record. As previously mentioned, that judgement is the employers’ to make when it comes to unspent convictions.

If the applicant’s DBS certificate shows that they are ‘barred’ from working with Children (under-18s) and/or Vulnerable Adults (over-18s receiving care or healthcare) then you may not employ them in roles that involve working with those groups. In fact, it’s a criminal offence for the applicant to apply for work with groups they are barred from, and it is an offence for the employer to hire them.

What if the applicant has been dishonest about their unspent offences?

If you ask an applicant whether they have any unspent criminal record history during the interview process, and their DBS certificate reveals that they have failed to disclose their unspent criminal record, then they have been dishonest during the hiring process. Regardless of the offence, you can choose not to hire them on this basis.

As an employer, you must be careful not to ask candidates for criminal record information that you are not entitled to. The simplest way to ensure you aren’t in breach of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act is to only ask about unspent offences, and request a DBS check to confirm their reply.

Can I keep a copy of the DBS results certificate?

With the applicant’s permission, you can keep their DBS results certificate, or create a copy for your records – as long as you are compliant with the Data Protection laws and GDPR.

Any copies should be kept in a secure, controlled location. No one else should have access to view the information unless they are entitled to it. If the information is kept on a computer, it must be password protected!

Online DBS Checks For Employers

Aaron’s Department offers an affordable, easy-to-use, fast-tracked DBS application portal. If you’re an employer looking for checks for your staff why not give us a go? It’s free to register with us, and we’re pay-as-you go – no hidden fees or minimum number of checks. Have a quick look at our pricing page, and you’ll also find that we’re one of the cheapest providers on the market!

If you have any question, our team of experts are here to help you weekdays from 8:00am until 5:00pm, feel free to call on 0113 877 0171, or email contact@aaronsdepartment.com – we look forward to hearing from you!

To register your company and have your checks processed the same working day, sign up using the buttons below!

Further Reading

If you’ve found our page “What To Do With DBS Results – Employer Advice” useful, we’ve linked some more resources that might come in handy below:

About The Author

FAQ: Should I Pay For My Own DBS Check?

Matthew Dugdale

Matthew is our go-to when it comes to all things related to Recruitment & DBS checks. His experience and expertise helps make sure that everyone gets the correct level of check.

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