DBS News – Sept / Oct 2013
October 1st, 2013 by Jonathan Bazely
The DBS News contains several useful articles this month, which we have summarised below:
Firstly, the DBS have reiterated the importance of putting the correct ‘workforce’ in the job description. There are 3 workforces – ‘Child’, ‘Adult’ and ‘Other’. These categories are used by the DBS to assess the relevancy of non-conviction information when processing an individual’s disclosure application. The workforce information also determines whether DBS certificates can be reused when moving between jobs. The DBS are finding that many applications are completed using the incorrect workforce. An example of this might be cleaners who work in schools being listed as ‘Other workforce’, when they should be listed in the ‘Child’ workforce, as the activity takes place in a school. If the wrong workforce is used, then the application may be rejected. However, the rejection is not necessarily instant, and the application may reach the police before being rejected. In this case, the applicant may have a significant delay in obtaining a DBS Certificate, which can have knock-on effect in recruitment and earnings.
DDC clients and applications benefit from our online application system, which includes pre-defined roles and associated workforces. The relevant workforce is therefore automatically added to the form, based on the role selected. This feature ensures that the delays highlighted by the DBS do not affect our clients. For clients that make use of our paper-based service, our experienced team of countersignatories are able to quickly assess job roles, and ensure that the workforce section is completed accurately.
Secondly, the DBS have clarified section x66 of the DBS application form, which asks about ‘home-based’ roles. The main idea behind this question is to work out whether the main duties of the role take place in the applicant’s own home environment. If the duties take place in the applicants home, then the correct answer to section x61 is ‘yes’, while all other answer are covered by the ‘no’ response. As an example, doctors and nurses who visit patients’ homes are not carrying out their duties in their own homes, so the answer is ‘no’. When section x66 is answered ‘yes’, the police will search for any information relating to a specific address. This enables police to pass on information about not just the applicant, but information such as people living at the address, visitors to the address or known associates of the applicant.
DDC’s experienced team of countersignatories are on-hand to help answer this question, and we are regularly in touch with the DBS, when and if official clarification is required. We also have a comprehensive online tracking system, which means that applications are followed up at the earliest possible opportunity, meaning our clients receive the fastest possible turnaround times.
Thirdly, the DBS have explained some of the reasoning behind applicant-only certificates. The main reasons for this change are to allow applicants to dispute information prior to the employer seeing the DBS certificate. Incorrect information may have significant detrimental effects on an applicant seeking work or a voluntary position. Making the DBS certificate ‘applicant-only’ also allows the applicant to explain the circumstances of any criminal record information before providing the certificate.
DDC are fully informed of these changes and we have worked hard to incorporate them into our systems. As an electronic Umbrella Body we are informed which issued disclosures have content and which are clear, information that many organisation are not given . This means that vitally, DDC are able to tell their clients when applicants should be in possession of their DBS Certificates, and which DBS Certificates contain criminality information. This will save a significant amount of effort, because employers then need to see only the Disclosures of applicants that contain criminal content rather than all of them. It remains the prerogative of the applicant to present that document to any employer or potential employer, and the employer is still bound to treat the applicant without discrimination.
Living with Convictions
Finally, the DBS have been working with a charity called Unlock, which provides information to individuals with convictions. The aim of this partnership is to make sure that people with convictions understand how the criminal record check system works, and how they can deal with telling employers about their criminal record. More information can be found at http://www.unlock.org.uk.
Users may also wish to take a look at our FAQ section, which includes answers to common questions regarding conviction information. DDC clients and applicants can also call our experienced and dedicated countersignatory team, who will be able to answer questions in person, and advise both DBS certificate holders and interested parties on how criminal record information can be used.