DBS Checks for Employers: Who Needs a Check?

Wondering about DBS checks for employers?

DBS checks for employers

As an employer with a number of employees in different roles, it can sometimes be difficult to work out who’s eligible for a criminal record check.

Add to that the different levels of check available and the various pieces of legislation you need to consider, and it can suddenly seem a very confusing picture.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined some key considerations to help you determine which level of check is suitable for your different employees.

What sector is your organisation in?

Consider which sector your organisation fits into. Some sectors, due to the nature of the jobs within them, are more likely to have staff who are eligible for DBS checks.

For instance, companies operating in the healthcare or education sectors are more likely to employ staff who are eligible for higher levels of DBS checks than those operating in technology or retail.

Considering your organisation’s sector can then prompt you to think about the types of activity your employees will be undertaking, and whether those activities will entitle them to a higher level of check.

For example, if you run an organisation involved in care, anyone caring for vulnerable adults would probably be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check against the adults’ barred list.

What’s the nature of the contact your employees will have with vulnerable groups?

The eligibility criteria for an enhanced DBS check often centres around the applicant’s contact with children and vulnerable adults. This contact is categorised by its nature and frequency.

This aspect of DBS check eligibility is referred to as ‘regulated activity’. Whether or not an employee is engaging in regulated activity will determine their eligibility for an enhanced DBS check.

Regulated activity in relation to children is based on both the type of activity the employee is undertaking and their place of work.

If an employee is teaching, instructing, caring or supervising children then they will usually be eligible for an enhanced DBS check.

Equally, they will usually be eligible if they work in a place that falls into the category termed ‘limited range of establishments’. This includes places like schools and nurseries.

For those working with vulnerable adults, regulated activity is based on the nature of the employee’s activity with this vulnerable group. Examples of eligible activities include:

  • Providing healthcare
  • Personal care, including assistance with eating and drinking, washing or dressing.
  • Conveying vulnerable adults to or from a place where they’re receiving healthcare
  • Social work
  • Assistance in the conduct of an individual’s own affairs
  • Assistance with household matters, like cash or banking

There are more activities and roles which would allow employees to have either a standard or enhanced DBS check. But, as we’ve outlined, considering the nature of their contact with vulnerable groups can help to determine this.

Will your employees be working on different contracts?

When considering DBS checks for employers, another way to determine your employees’ eligibility for higher-levels DBS checks is to think about the nature of the contracts you take on as an organisation.

This particularly applies to companies whose employees include engineers, technicians or general contractors, and so wouldn’t typically be eligible for a higher level of DBS check.

However, the nature of some contracts, such as those which involve working in schools or in hospitals with access to wards, may mean that employees are eligible for a higher level of DBS check for the contract. Often, in these cases, higher-level DBS checks may form part of the contractual requirements.

For more information on determining an employee’s eligibility for a higher level of check, visit the DBS eligibility tool. This process will ask you a series of questions to help you work out the most suitable level of check for your applicant.

DBS checks for employers: A summary

There are a number of points to think about when determining whether your employees are eligible for higher-level DBS checks:

  • Consider the nature of your organisation – are you working in a sector where your employees are more likely to be eligible for DBS checks?
  • Think about the nature of the contact your employees will have with vulnerable groups. Even if their role isn’t typically eligible for a DBS check, consider whether any contracts may mean they’re eligible for a higher level of check.

Any questions about DBS checks for employers? The Disclosure and Barring Service will be able to help with any legislative concerns.

Looking to get started requesting DBS checks for employers? Contact us for more information or register here.