DBS Checked Photographer
In commercial photography, an industry one might not necessarily associate with the need for background checks by a government body, the question of DBS checks remains a similarly divisive one. However, with clients increasingly requesting a DBS accredited photographer for jobs, which involve potentially vulnerable people, the checks themselves are becoming more important to public relations and press photographers working in the UK.
Since their introduction in 2002, the effectiveness and necessity of Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks have been widely-discussed issues amongst those working with children and vulnerable adults.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (previously CRB checks)
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
A DBS check may be needed for:
certain jobs or voluntary work, eg working with children or in healthcare
applying to foster or adopt a child
Who can ask for a DBS check
An employer can ask for a DBS check for certain roles.
Applicants (job candidates) can’t do a criminal records check on themselves. Instead, they can request a ‘basic disclosure’ from Disclosure Scotland (you don’t have to be from Scotland to do this).
How to get a DBS check
The employer gets an application form from DBS or an umbrella body (a registered body that gives access to DBS checks).
The employer gives the applicant the form to fill in and return to them along with documents proving their identity.
The employer sends the completed application form to DBS or their umbrella body.
DBS sends a certificate to the applicant. The employer has to ask the applicant to see the certificate.
If the applicant has subscribed to the DBS update service, the employer can check their certificate online.
How long a DBS check is valid
A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if and when a new check is needed.
Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on a potential employee’s certificate.
Types of criminal records check
There are 3 types of check. The employer or organisation running the check should provide the applicant with more information about the level of check required.
Criminal record check applicants must be 16 or over.
This checks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, and will take about 2 weeks.
This includes the same as the standard check plus any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the workforce being applied for (adult, child or ‘other’ workforce). It usually takes about 4 weeks.
‘Other’ workforce means those who don’t work with children or adults specifically, but potentially both, eg taxi drivers. In this case, the police will only release information that’s relevant to the post being applied for.
Enhanced with list checks (£44)
This is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists. It usually takes about 4 weeks.