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CRB Checks for those Working in Financial Services


The Criminal Records Bureau check has been re-named with effect from February 2013 as the DBS: the Disclosure and Barring Service.

A DBS check is undertaken to check on an individual’s background and may be needed for certain jobs, voluntary work, or for those who wish to adopt or foster a child.

Although many professions may seem obvious candidates for this check, including teachers, those in healthcare and those working in restricted access areas at airports and Court officers, some less immediately obvious professions include veterinary surgeons, chartered or certified accountants and those working in financial services where the Financial ServiceAuthority or the competent authority for listings are entitled to ask exempted questions to fulfil their obligations under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000”. (Source: DBS eligibility guidance v1 December 2012).

The Home Office guidance explains that “under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, a person with a criminal record is not required to disclose any spent convictions unless the position they are applying for, or are currently undertaking, is listed as an exception under the act”. (Source: as above).

Employers will only arrange a DBS check on a successful applicant and are entitled to withdraw a job offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable.

So what is a DBS check and what does it entail?

The DBS is an agency of the Home Office and there are three kinds of check. The Standard check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.  The Enhanced check will cover all of the above plus any information held by the police that is considered relevant to the post being applied for.  An ‘Enhanced with list check’ covers all the elements of the Enhanced check and is relevant to those who have been barred from working with children or adults.

The DBS check is carried out with the worker’s permission as part of the recruitment procedure.  Usually, employers are not allowed to ask an applicant about spent convictions, but for roles that require a DBS check this rule is overturned.  No-one can undertake a DBS check on themselves.

There are 3 routes to obtaining a DBS check and Route 1 is the first to be considered.  The other two routes are undertaken if firstly, Route 1, then 2 cannot be achieved, for example because the applicant cannot access the relevant documents.

The applicant is given a form to complete and must provide documents to prove their identity and address. Examples include a passport or residence permit; birth certificate or marriage/civil partnership certificate; mortgage or credit card statement.  Once the check is complete a certificate will be sent to the person who is the subject of the check and the authorised person who requested it.

The Home Office advises that although there is currently no expiry date on a DBS certificate, fresh checks may be carried out according to the rules specific to the relevant employment sector. 

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