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Cross post from Unlock: Basic criminal record checks

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Basic criminal record checks
Launched today by the DBS


From today, the 17th January 2018, basic criminal record checks can now be obtained directly from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)



This is a significant development for both people with criminal records and employers in England & Wales.

Basic checks are a type of criminal record check that can be used by employers and other organisations, for example when they are recruiting staff. They can also be used by insurance companies in validating claims. Basic checks show any ‘unspent’ criminal records (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974). Once a conviction or caution is ‘spent’, it no longer shows on a basic check.

Commenting on the news, Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, said:

“We cautiously welcome today’s news. A basic check from the DBS is long overdue, and it should help to make the system clearer, ensuring that employers carry out the appropriate levels of checks instead of carrying out standard or enhanced checks which can often be unlawful.

“However, we’re concerned about a number of aspects to the way the DBS plan to operate basic checks, including allowing them to be sent directly to an employer. This runs the risk of employers being sent information that they’re not entitled to see, and is why this practice was reversed in 2012 for standard and enhanced checks. We’ve raised these concerns with both the DBS and the Home Office, but for the time being we’re advising any individual that thinks they have a spent conviction to make sure they apply for a basic check directly from the DBS and get it sent to their home address.”

On a practical level, we’ve developed a landing page dedicated to basic DBS checks as a one-stop-shop for the latest information, advice and updates. It’s been written primarily for people with convictions, but with employers and others in mind too, covering things like:
  1. How to get a basic check
  2. Should the check be sent to the applicant or the employer?
  3. What are eCertificates & eResults?
  4. Our advice for individuals
  5. Our advice to employers

We expect to learn more about the day-to-day practices of basic checks in the coming days, weeks and months. As we learn more, we'll do our best to reflect this in our guidance.

For more information, and the latest details, visit our information page on basic DBS checks.

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