Basic disclosure to be taken over by DBS

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Basic disclosure for England and Wales, which has until now been performed in part by Disclosure Scotland is now being formally taken over by the Disclosure and Barring Service in an end to a temporary delegation which has continued for 14 years. The change will come into effect fully on 1st January 2018. Disclosure in Scotland will continue to be carried out by Disclosure Scotland.

Basic Disclosure involves checking an individual’s criminal record, and reports on their current convictions. It is usually requested by employers on behalf of candidates but can also be requested by individuals themselves. Criminal record checking is required for certain types of employment, for instance when working with children or vulnerable adults. Many companies run a DBS check as a matter of course in all recruiting.

The law is different regarding the length of time it takes for a conviction to be considered “spent” in England and Wales as opposed to Scotland. This could potentially lead to employers having access to information which they are not legally entitled to. From 1st January 2018, criminal records checks will be carried out by DBS if the employment is to be in England or Wales, and by Disclosure Scotland if the position is in Scotland.

DBS helps employers make safer decisions in recruitment by performing checks to determine whether an individual is suitable for employment.

DBS have also introduced an online web application portal which will allow applicants to access their application for tracking and querying purposes. This will make the process more streamlined, and prevent undue delay in beginning a new role which is reliant on DBS checking.

The process of DBS checking is also set to change. Until now, to obtain basic disclosure, individuals can have their identity verified without face to face contact. From January 2018, DBS is changing its criteria, and identity verification will have to take place in person, with individuals being required to present themselves to a DBS registered organisation.