The rise of DBS checks in the modern workplace

DBS checksDisclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are becoming an increasingly common requirement. More and more industries are realising their utility, for important functions such as increasing the safety of the workplace, and protecting the broader interests of the brand. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the causes behind the rise of DBS checks, to help employers and employees alike better understand their importance. More specifically, we outline the importance of such checks in a modern work environment, and their place in a society which is ever-conscious about the role of privacy. Let’s explore further. 

DBS checks are completed to ascertain an individual’s criminal record. They are completed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (the DBS,) a non-departmental governmental agency. There are three different levels of DBS check:

  1. Basic – the basic check lists unspent criminal convictions and warnings.
  2. Standard – the standard check lists both spent and unspent criminal convictions, reprimands and warnings.
  3. Enhanced – the enhanced check covers the same information as the standard check, in addition to any information the police consider relevant to the role being checked for. 

Why are they important?

While it’s always been important to know as much as possible about the backgrounds of new employees, it’s becoming increasingly important for the following reasons:


Helps to attract better talent

Companies that require DBS checks as part of the application process tend to attract better talent. It helps to ensure that people are more honest in their application, and discourages applicants from hiding important information about their past. 

The recruitment process can be complex and costly; any way of streamlining it, such as through the use of DBS checks, is an attractive solution to employers.


Provides legal protection

Due diligence is an important part of all business decisions, and DBS checks are a great way of proving that employers have done all they can to hire trustworthy individuals. 


In the case that an employee does harm the business, being able to prove that a criminal background check was completed as part of the recruitment process will help to protect against any liability claims which are brought forward.


Providing a safe workplace

Employees have a right to feel safe at work, and while DBS checks protect businesses on a more general level, they also protect employees. In addition to fulfilling legal obligations, DBS checks illustrate a certain level of care for workers. 

Being able to show that steps have been taken to ensure the safety of employees is a great way to attract and retain talented members of staff, through ensuring that the work environment is as positive as possible.


Legal compliance

Another factor behind the rise of DBS checks is the importance of regulatory compliance. Safeguarding is an area of increasing importance in many industries, especially education and healthcare. 

Employers have a legal obligation to comply with often stringent regulations in these industries, DBS checks being one of the most important. 

Failure to comply with safeguarding regulations can result in very serious legal ramifications, making compliance one of the principal reasons behind the rise in DBS checks.