There's a lot of misconceptions when it comes to DBS Checks, they expire after 3 years being a common one.

This guide will talk you through five of the most common ones, so you can ensure you're staying within the law.

Can I Fail A DBS Check?

No, there is no "failing" a DBS check as it is part of a vetting process to show if someone has a criminal record, be it a caution, warning or conviction.

With that in mind, you cannot 'fail' a DBS check, as it is not an exam, but rather gives guidance to employers about the individuals criminal history.

If the check returns back with a criminal history, the employer should always take into consideration the seriousness of a crime(s), and if it would affect the safety of other employees, customers, or put private information at risk.

But there is no pass or fail result returned with a DBS or CRB check.

Do DBS Checks Expire?

Despite a fresh DBS check being carried out when a person joins a new company being the norm, they don't actually expire.

Companies and employers instead have to decide if enough time has passed for a new DBS check to be needed (unless one is legally needed - you can read more on that here).

A DBS check should be viewed as a snapshot in time of the person's history up to the date the certificate was printed.

So, it's not like milk with a date to use it by, but like a carton of milk, it's often good to get a fresh one from time to time.

Does Having a Criminal Record Stop You From Getting a Job?

There isn't a one size fits all answer, but The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 states that anyone with a criminal record must have a fair chance when they apply for a role. 

This is different when the offence is something to do with children or vulnerable adults, and the role applied for is caring for, teaching or just being in contact with them. In this case, then the applicant would be deemed unsuitable - especially when they are undertaking Regulated Activity with them.

What is Regulated Activity?

There is often some confusion over what the definition of regulated activity is, and as a result, who qualifies for an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List check. 

For adults, regulated activity is:

  • The personal care of Vulnerable Adults.
  • Social work provided by a social care worker.
  • Assisting with shopping or the handling of money due to their illness or age.
  • Providing healthcare by a regulated healthcare professional (whether alone or under supervision).
  • Helping conduct their own affairs.
  • Assisting them to and from places where personal, healthcare or social work is received.

For children, regulated activity is:

  • The personal care of children.
  • Managing or supervising anyone else who is performing the regulated activity.
  • Providing healthcare by a regulated healthcare professional (alone or supervised).
  • Foster care, or registered childminding.

Anyone Can Apply For Any Level of DBS Check

This is not the case, individuals can only request a Basic, whilst Employers can request any level of check, as long as they are entitled to. 

Basic DBS Checks
Anyone can get a Basic DBS Check for any reason. This could be an employer or an individual. 

Standard DBS Checks
These are only available to be applied for by employers for their staff. 

Enhanced DBS Checks (With or Without Barred Lists)
Again, only employers can apply for these DBS checks for their staff. 

Employers need to ensure that they are also applying for the suitable check level for their employers as they need to be legally eligible for it.

The Wrap-Up

So those are just some of the most common DBS check myths out there. 

Hopefully, this guide has given you a clearer view of the DBS application process, and the legalities behind it. 

You can read more about DBS checks guidance on our Eligibility Guidance page, or also on our blog page.