Upcoming Changes to the Basic Disclosure Check

From January 2018, the checks that organisations make for certain jobs and voluntary positions will be changing. Currently, basic checks – that is those that do not require the enhanced element – are undertaken by Disclosure Scotland. However, in the New Year, Disclosure Scotland will not be responsible for basic checks for people working in England and Wales.

Why Is the Change Happening?

Disclosure Scotland and Disclosure and Barring Service are different organisations that work within two distinct legal systems. Basic checks have been carried out by Disclosure Scotland on a temporary basis, with the delegation always due to end on Jan 2018. It is the fact that these agencies work within two different systems that make the continuation of the current arrangement untenable.

The two legal systems have different rules as to when a conviction is considered ‘spent’ under their respective Rehabilitation of Offenders Acts. Consequently, a disclosure made under one system could contravene the privacy rights of someone working under the other systems and could lead to employers having information to which they had no legal right.

Who Can Apply?

Anyone can apply for a basic DBS check for personal use and not for employment purposes. Personal applications can be made directly, but if an organisation is going to be undertaking a volume of checks for employment purposes, then the use of a DBS Responsible Organisation (RO) is the best option. DBS checks via carecheck or any other RO are authorised by the DBS.

Which Agency Has Responsibility?

The answer is that a basic check required for someone working in Scotland will still be undertaken by Disclosure Scotland, whereas someone working within England or Wales would have their DBS check undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Service. For the purposes of a check made for employment purposes, it is where the job is situated that determines which agency is responsible – not where the applicant is residing. However, if someone wished to apply personally for a check, they should apply to the agency where they live.

Although the change is imminent, it is important to note that there will be no change to the requirement to undertake checks in certain jobs. The change does not affect the way in which enhanced checks are undertaken, but basic checks should now be more streamlined and easier to access.

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