- Posted Thursday May 29, 2014
A key responsibility as an employer is to consider the role and responsibilities within your practice, to ensure they have the correct type of check. This will mean reviewing the level of contact that your employees will have with adults and children. Your decision should be based on the activity that a person does rather than the job title.
Types of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
- Standard check – this can be used to obtain information about spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
- Enhanced check – this provides the same information which is given on the standard check, plus any additional information held by the local police that is considered relevant to the workforce e.g., whether the person works with adults, children or ‘other’ workforce
- Enhanced with list checks – as above, but includes a check of the DBS barred list activity which is defined by the Department of Health in their guidance note (see further resources). Only apply for these if they fall under the revised definition of ‘regulated activity’, which is unlikely to include administrators, receptionists, cleaners or caretakers etc.
Process for obtaining a DBS check
Forms are supplied by the DBS and these must be filled in by the applicant and counter-signed by the employer (or another organisation working as an ‘umbrella body’). The form is sent off to the DBS and the DBS check once complete is sent to the applicant who must show the employer the form.
Individuals can subscribe to the DBS update service, which will allow you as the employer to check the details online.
If an individual needs to start quickly before the form is back, then the Adult First service can be utilised. This allows an individual to be checked against the adults’ barring list, but is unable to be used to check the children’s list. A separate application from is completed for this by the counter-signatory (a named individual within your organisation or from an agreed ‘umbrella body’).
In exceptional circumstances, individuals can be appointed, before the check is returned. This is only where there is an urgent need to appoint because of the risk to patient safety, as identified through a risk assessment.
Your accountability as an employer
- To ensure that all types of workers are included i.e., contracted staff, temporary staff, bank staff, practitioners working under practising privileges, volunteers, students and learners, and contractors, health visitors, nursing staff, GPs, and some reception staff depending on their duties.
- To consider whether to hire an individual with previous convictions
- To consider using risk assessment tools, which take in to account the work staff do, the potential scope for abuse and the stability of the workforce as to whether to re-check an individual’s DBS.
- To record the following information from the DBS somewhere safe in case of CQC inspection:
- the date and issue of the check
- the full name and the date of birth of the subject
- the type of check requested
- whether the children’s and/or adults barred list was checked and the outcome
- the position for which the check requested
- the unique reference number of the check
- the details of the employment decision taken
- and any additional information that may require periodic checks to be made
If after a risk assessment has been completed and the decision made not to apply for a DBS check then this must be recorded also.
Those who have a DBS check already issued within the last 6 months and counter-signed by the Care Quality Commission do not need to have a new check if they can produce a copy of this to the new employer. Individuals can pay to subscribe to the Update Service so that they only need one DBS check and the employer can then access this information online to check it is still up-to-date.
Further good practice
Please remember that DBS checks have their limitations and only provide information on an individual at a given point in time. They should be used in conjunction with other methods i.e., checking the applicant’s employment history (including any gaps) and reviewing references to ensure that the individual is of good character and suitable to work in a healthcare setting.
In addition to the above FPM members can obtain further information via the FPM website. Alternatively members can also email specific questions about employment issues to firstname.lastname@example.org where your question will be treated in confidence and will normally be answered (by email) within 2 working days of submission.