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The Importance Of DBS Checks in Child Protection

This is a collaborative post

In recent years, safeguarding has been an important topic of discussion in a number of industries. Multiple failures were found to have led to serious incidents, some of them absolutely scandalous in scale. As a result, DBS checks have received a resurgence in perceived importance as a tool to help improve child protection, whether in charities or schools. Let’s explore why DBS checks are so important, and how they might be used.

How are DBS checks useful for child protection?

When safeguarding children, one of the key aims is to create a controlled environment, with people who have had extensive background checks carried out on them. While it’s impossible to eradicate the risk of an incident occurring, these background checks are a great way of at least significantly decreasing that risk, by providing a clearer view of different people’s pasts. 

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Different kinds of check

There are different kinds of DBS checks that can be used in child protection, each being suitable for slightly different circumstances.

Basic check

The basic check is the least exhaustive DBS check available. It only looks for unspent criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands, and is unregulated meaning it can be carried out by anyone. It’s common in a range of industries, but isn’t considered in-depth enough for roles that involve prolonged contact with vulnerable individuals such as children. 

Standard check

The standard check is a step up, and looks for both spent and unspent criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands. It can only be used for certain positions, typically those that involve supervised contact with children. 

Enhanced check

The most in-depth DBS check is the enhanced check. In addition to the information searched for in the standard check, it also includes any information the police consider relevant to the position being applied for. 

It can also be carried out with a barred list check, which will see if the candidate has been barred from working with certain people, such as children. An enhanced DBS check with a barred list check will typically be the option used for roles that necessitate ongoing unsupervised contact with children, such as in childcare or educational settings.

How to carry DBS checks out

As both the standard and enhanced DBS checks are regulated, they can only be carried out for certain roles, and must normally be applied for by the employer. If the organisation needs fewer than 100 tests carried out each year, then they will need to go through an umbrella organisation such as Personnel Checks to process the check for them. Organisations that need more than 100 checks carried out annually can do so directly through the DBS.

DBS checks clearly play a core role in child protection. It’s important that your organisation is fully aware of what kind of check they should be using, both to ensure regulatory compliance and to ensure a practically effective approach to safeguarding at all times. While it can be confusing working out what checks you should be using, there are plenty of services out there that can help guide you through the process.

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post

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