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DBS Checks

Enhanced DBS checks are necessary when a person works for an employer or voluntary organisation where they have unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults.

The information that may be disclosed by the police goes beyond criminal convictions and cautions and may include any reported relevant allegation. The police discretion in including information is broad, but it is not unbridled. They now have to follow statutory guidance and are required to consider whether the information is accurate, reliable and proportionate to disclose, bearing in mind competing rights of the applicant and the vulnerable group.

This includes consulting the applicant before disclosure where there may be doubts about the completeness or credibility of information or there has been no opportunity for challenge.

Once an enhanced disclosure has been issued it is possible to challenge the police decision with the Chief Constable. Further to this there is a right of review to the Independent Monitor which came into existence through the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Given that an adverse disclosure is usually fatal to a job application or continued employment, it is always preferable to have the opportunity to challenge information prior to the decision. Where there are prior allegations, even if not charged, or an acquittal it may be advisable to seek legal advice when considering a position requiring an enhanced check.