Zero tolerance approach to DBS checks?

We were recently contacted by an individual who had applied for an assessor role in health and social care.

The individual disclosed their conviction to the employer on the application form and at interview and was told that, as their conviction was historical, it would not present a problem.

At a second interview, the company discussed mandatory training courses and explained that they would be in touch to confirm the exact dates of these courses. The individual applied for their enhanced DBS check and on receipt of it, forwarded it on to the employer.

Several weeks later the individual received a letter from the organisation which stated that:

“We take a zero tolerance approach with regards to DBS checks and so I am afraid we will not be moving forward with your application”

We contacted the organisation and highlighted the DBS Code of Practice which states:

“It is a requirement that all registered bodies must treat DBS applicants who have a criminal record fairly and not discriminate automatically because of a conviction or other information revealed”

We suggested that the organisation may be contravening the DBS Code of Practice by having a ‘zero tolerance policy’ and that it could risk having its registration suspended or cancelled if it failed to meet the code of practice.

We were contacted by the vice president of the company who confirmed that they did not have a ‘zero tolerance policy’ and that they took their responsibility for upholding the code of practice seriously. He explained that in this instance there had been a communication error but some retraining had been put in place to ensure that the issue did not arise again.

 

Lessons

This case shows the importance of ensuring that organisations inform all employees involved in the recruitment of staff about the need to adhere to the DBS Code of Practice and the possible consequences of having their registration suspended or cancelled if they fail to do so.

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Christopher Stacey