Over the last few years, there has been a marked increase in the number of people requiring a DBS certificate in order to work within certain professions.
Factually incorrect or irrelevant information displayed on a DBS Certificate may have a detrimental impact on a person’s employment prospects, so it is imperative that the information is both relevant and accurate.
What is a DBS Certificate?
Formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, DBS certificates, which are supplied by the Disclosure and Barring Service, are generally requested by, and disclosed to, employers seeking to carry out background checks on prospective employees.
The Disclosure and Barring Service is a non-departmental public body of the Home Office which provides information enabling public, private and voluntary sectors to more safely employ suitable candidates for work vacancies involving, particularly, children and vulnerable adults. It provides access to criminal record information.
The Nature of DBS Checks
There are three types of checks conducted leading to the issue of a:
1. Standard Certificate
This is the most basic check that can be carried out and will contain information relating to spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
This is the most common form of DBS certificate requested.
2. Enhanced Certificate
This includes the same information as the Standard Certificate plus any additional information held by a police force which is reasonably considered relevant to the role being applied for.
3. Enhanced with List Certificate
This is similar to the Enhanced Certificate but includes a check of the DBS barred list. The barred list contains a list of people who are deemed to be unsuitable for working with children and vulnerable adults.
Disclosure Issues Which May Arise
A caution or conviction will certainly appear on a Standard Certificate and so long as the content is true and accurate is unlikely to cause any difficulty. (Information relating to a caution can be removed from a DBS certificate in limited circumstances).
However, information contained within an Enhanced Certificate, where there may be more than one allegation, may create problems.
Enhanced Certificates contain a section entitled ‘other relevant information’ which can be completed by the Police when completing the form.
‘Other relevant information’ includes ‘non-conviction information’ and ‘police intelligence’ which covers:
- Fixed Penalty Notices;
- Findings of Innocence;
- Cautions and Convictions of co-habitees;
- Other Police intelligence.
Information in relation to, for example, proceedings leading to a court trial and subsequent acquittal, can be revealed on an Enhanced Certificate and the disclosure of such information may clearly have serious consequences for prospective employment opportunities.
The decision as to whether to disclose local police information is made by the Chief Constable in the relevant Police force area.
Challenging the content of an Enhanced Certificate
In the event of disagreement with the content of ‘other relevant information’ disclosed by the Police, there is a right of appeal through an independent monitor and the Police will be given the opportunity to reconsider their decision to include the information following any representations made opposing the disclosure of the disputed information.
The ‘other relevant information’ can only be challenged on the grounds that:
1. The information contained within the Enhanced Certificate is not relevant; and/or
2. If the information is relevant, it ought not to be included within the Certificate on Human Rights grounds.
How can Kangs Solicitors assist with disputed DBS Checks?
Kangs Solicitors have considerable experience in advising and representing clients who wish to challenge the relevancy and/or accuracy of the content of their DBS Certificate and have successfully challenged numerous police authorities across the UK including the Metropolitan Police, Staffordshire Police and Greater Manchester Police.
A vast amount of complex law both from the European Court of Human Rights and UK Courts surrounds DBS Certificates and if you wish to challenge the relevancy or accuracy of the information contained within such a Certificate, it is imperative that you choose a firm that is experienced in resolving such issues.
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