Any prospective employer can ask any new applicants for a job at their company to get their criminal record check completed. While it is primarily for businesses in the UK, it is also increasingly being used by UK companies for their operations abroad. This is so as any UK applicant with a criminal record will be registered with the law enforcement organisations in the UK. These checks are caried out to ensure that only the right candidates are vetted and selected for the job.
Now the verification of criminal records is done by the DBS, which was formerly the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). However, in Scotland it goes by the name of Disclosure Scotland and as Access NI in Northern Ireland. While it is not mandated by law for every applicant for a job to undergo these checks, an increasing number of companies and organisations are asking for them. It has also become a quicker and more economical process than it was earlier.
While the criminals record database for England, Wales and Scotland is kept by the PNC, the NI database is maintained by Northern Ireland, itself. Once a request for a background check goes out, the enquiry is sent to the PNC and they are responsible for the issuing of the DBS Certificate. It generally takes anywhere between 24-48 hours with Basic Checks costing £18 and Standard and Enhanced checks priced at £38.
Basic DBS Check
The most common and generally asked for is the Basic Check that anyone above 16 can apply for on their own. They just need to provide basic details like the address proof (of the past 5 years), their date of birth, national insurance number and an id proof. Applying for it is very easy as it is possible to do it online by creating an account and using the one-time password that is generated. It is the quickest of the record checks as it only covers basic information such as unspent convictions.
Rehabilitation of Offenders (ROA)
To ensure that past offenders are not discriminated against due to past convictions, the ROA Act of 1974 was passed. As per the law once an individual is rehabilitated there should no discrimination if they apply for a job. As per the act, any potential employer is not permitted to ask for a background check if the vacancy for which it is requested does not validate it. With individuals having the prerogative to ask for their basic checks, no legal restrictions apply. However, if an employer asks for a background check, an applicant has the right to refuse their request.
The process of a standard check can take 14 business days or more as it is more comprehensive. It covers final warnings, police cautions and reprimands with all convictions. When an employer decides to ask for a standard check it must meet the guidelines of the ROA i.e., the job must justify the request for the check. Standard Checks are generally more commonly needed in the financial sector to avoid employing any unscrupulous elements that have been previously convicted of fraud. A standard check can be requested for by an employer or a responsible organisation. However, when an employer asks for the check and requests less than 100 checks a year, they will need to get the request process done by an RO (responsible organisation).
Enhanced DBS/CRB Checks
It is the most expensive (£38) and most detailed of all the three background checks. Enhanced CRB Checks are usually asked for positions that need employees that are highly trustworthy and ethical. Any profession that has the employee coming in contact with vulnerable adults or children necessitates getting an enhanced check. Therefore, any individual that seeks employment in a hospital or school should be recommended for an enhanced check. Although, this check is extremely detailed it does not included checks against the barred list unless specifically asked for. This list is for adults and children and contains the names of those people that are restricted from working with kids or vulnerable adults.