What to do if you find criminal information on a DBS check

Applying for a DBS Check has become a necessary process in recruitment and is imperative to providing a secure workforce in society.

Criminal record checks can also be a very sensitive issue, so what do you do if you actually find something on a check? Panic? Ignore it?

Personnel Checks interviewed its DBS advisers to get their opinions on best practice when finding something on a check.

1. Is it illegal to employ an applicant who has something on their DBS check?

Alice: No, the organisation must make a sound recruitment decision based on what the DBS certificate presents. Organisations cannot discriminate against an applicant based on what is on the result. However, if an applicant is on the children’s or adults barred list, it is illegal for the organisation to employ them in a position near children or adults.

See the rehabilitation of offenders act to find out the positions which are exempt.

2. Am I allowed to refuse employment on the applicant if they have criminal record information?

Ryan: Yes you are, providing the convictions are relevant to the applicant’s job role and in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. If the applicant is working in Regulated Activity then you are able to refuse employment based on spent* convictions, however the DBS Code of Practice advises that it is a requirement to treat DBS applicants that have a criminal record fairly and not discriminate against them based on criminal activity that is not relevant to their job role.

*spent – minor convictions have a rehabilitation period, automatically determined by the sentence, after which the conviction is considered spent and need not be disclosed by the ex-offender when applying for jobs

3. Do I need to tell the other employees if I decide to employ the applicant?

Polly: Any disclosures or disclosure information relayed to you must be treated with the strictest confidence and must not be shared with any third party without the applicant’s prior consent.

4. How do I approach the matter of DBS check results with the applicant once I receive the email saying there is information on it?

Louise: The employer would need to ask to speak with the applicant and to see their certificate. They would then need to discuss the information that is on the certificate. The employer would then use this information as a recruitment tool to make a recruitment decision as to whether or not this person is suitable for the role intended – providing the information on the certificate is relevant to the applicant’s position.

5. Do I need to confront the applicant about their results?

Alice: This depends on the relevance of the result – if the result shows something which is relevant to the position the applicant is applying for, we recommend that the organisation hold a meeting with the applicant to discuss this further before making a recruitment decision

6. Will the information on my DBS Check stop me from working?

Jack: The organisation must make a sound recruitment decision based on what your DBS certificate presents. The organisation can decline your employment offer if they feel that any criminal information on the DBS certificate is relevant to the position applied for.

7. What if the applicant won’t show their DBS Check?

Louise: It is at the discretion of the applicant as to whether or not they show their DBS check to their employer. However, it is unlikely that the employer would make a recruitment decision without seeing the individual’s certificate. It would be in the best interest of the organisation to state in their recruitment policy that the applicant’s must show their DBS certificate as a requirement of their employment.

8. How can I get the information removed off my own DBS Check?

Jack: The DBS search the PNC (Police National Computer) for the results of the check. If you wish to speak to someone to dispute the result on the check you would need to call the DBS or contact the Police.

9. What if the applicant is already working for me and I find something on their DBS?

Ryan: The process would be exactly the same for existing employees as it would be for new applicants. You are able to terminate employment in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act & DBS policy on the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders. Providing the convictions or deemed relevant and affect the applicant’s suitability for the job, you are able to terminate employment.

10. Is it illegal to discuss the results of an applicant with another person? Polly:Yes. You will be in breach of Data Protection legislation if you disclose any disclosure information to any third party without the prior consent of the applicant.