Can Employers Require Employees to Get an Enhanced DBS Check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a way for employers to verify the criminal record of a potential employee. It is the employer's responsibility to decide if a position requires a standard or enhanced DBS check. There is no legal obligation for employers to pay for DBS applications, and some may ask employees to pay for them. A DBS certificate does not expire, as it is a retrospective verification of a person's criminal record.

Companies may choose to obtain DBS checks for their employees as a precautionary measure, but there is no legal requirement to do so. A DBS check cannot access criminal records found outside of the UK, so it may not provide a full picture of an applicant's criminal record if they have lived abroad. Transgender applicants can request that their previous identity not be revealed to the person who asked them to complete an application form for a DBS verification. Charities or organizations that hire volunteers can also get a standard DBS check for volunteers free of charge.

A basic DBS check is the lowest level of information and is carried out for any purpose, including employment. Employers may require employees to undergo a DBS check every few months or every three years. For a basic DBS verification, it is sufficient to verify the candidate's identity with a group 1 document and, on the proof of address, with a document such as a utility bill, bank statement, license or other allowed document. Employers and organizations use DBS checks to properly screen candidates to ensure their suitability, reduce risks, comply with legislation, and promote safety and security. If the volunteer function involves regular, unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults, then standard or enhanced DBS monitoring will be required. A DBS certificate contains the DBS logo on the front and contains a number of security features that can be used to verify if it has been forged or altered.

Employers must verify that those who work with children or vulnerable adults are not prohibited from doing so by means of a DBS control.