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 is often the main factor for many employers on the recruitment decision.

However, it is important to remember that it is illegal to not employ someone based on their criminal history (unless a conviction suggests it would be unsafe).

In this guide, we’ll discuss what, as an employer, you can do with the information that returns on an individual’s DBS check.

How Do I See An Individual’s DBS Results?

After the DBS Check has been completed, the detailed DBS results will be sent to the individual who has been subjected to the check. This means that only they will have full details, and as an employer, you will have to ask for them to bring the certificate to you.

However, at Aaron’s Department, we are able to show you a basic summary of the check: whether it came back clear, or if you should request to view the certificate yourself.

If it has come back clear, you can continue with the hiring process in full confidence that they have had no criminal convictions that would appear on the level of DBS check you requested.

What Is A Clear DBS Check?

If your potential candidate comes back with a clear DBS check, great news! It means that there is no record of criminal history against the person based on the check type. Depending on which DBS application was applied for, a clear check may not mean there is no criminal history. 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 – Contains both spent and unspent convictions, as well as any information the Local Police Forces feel is relevant towards the applicant and application. On top of this, an Enhanced DBS check can also include a search of the DBS’s Children and/or Adult Barred List.

What’s The Difference Between Spent and Unspent Convictions?

Unspent Convictions
These are convictions and cautions that have not yet reached a point in time where they should be considered to have ‘never happened’.

However, there are many convictions that can never become “spent”, for example:

  • Imprisonment of over 2 years and 6 months.
  • Sexual Offences.
  • Terrorism.

This is just a handful of examples, but a full list of offences that will always remain unspent can be found here.

Spent Convictions
These are convictions and cautions that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 determine have passed a certain period of time, and should now be considered as if they never happened.

Further Information On DBS Check Information

If you would like to read more about what is included in a DBS check, you can do so by visiting our blog on What Does A DBS Check Show? – Your One-Stop Guide.

What Employers Should Do If The DBS Results Show A Criminal History

Getting a returned DBS results certificate with criminal history included doesn’t always have to throw a spanner in the works – unless the role involves regulated activity.

If a DBS check comes back with DBS results showing a criminal history, 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 the check should help you gather more information. However, if the conviction is not relevant to the role, then it is best to not discuss it.

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.

Can I Hire Somebody With a Criminal History on Their DBS Results?

It is perfectly fine to hire someone who has a criminal past – as long as it does not put others in potential danger.

Unless you have valid proof that you cannot hire someone because of their criminal past, it would count as discrimination to reject an application because of their DBS results.

What If An Adults / Children Barred List Check Results Show a Criminal History?

If the applicant’s DBS results show an offence that would prevent them from working with vulnerable adults or children, you cannot hire them. Doing so is illegal, and will land you in serious trouble. It is also illegal on the candidate’s behalf to apply for a job that involves regulated activity when they are banned from doing so, so the police should be notified.

Can I Keep A Copy Of The DBS Results Certificate?

With the applicant’s permission, you can keep a DBS results certificate, as long as you are compliant with the Data Protection and GDPR Acts.

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

If you’d like to begin the DBS process for your applicants, you’re in the right place!

At Aaron’s Department, you can apply for a Basic, Standard, or Enhanced DBS Check from as little as £3.11

To take advantage of our fast and affordable, error-proof, online system for your DBS checks, you can register your company here.

Our team of experts are here to help you weekdays from 9 am until 5 pm – if you have any questions, feel free to call on 0113 877 0171, or email at contact@aaronsdepartment.com.


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