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December 8 2020

Updates to offences included within DBS and Disclosure Scotland background checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) of England and Wales and Disclosure Scotland have announced a number of changes to the way they will be providing their services in the future.
 
While these updates are important, there will be no impact, for now, on how you apply for criminal record checks in England, Wales and Scotland, and the reports will also look the same.
 
This announcement is simply to keep you updated on how the DBS and Disclosure Scotland and adjusting their systems to bring them in line with recent changes to legislation in each jurisdiction.
 
So, what is changing?
 
DBS (England and Wales)
 
The DBS have announced changes to the ‘filtering’ of convictions that will be included on their Standard or Enhanced DBS certificates (DBS check). The Basic check remains unchanged.
 
Certain old or minor offences may not be disclosed on DBS certificates, these are known as ‘protected’ offences. Filtering of offences on DBS reports has been in place since 2013, but these will be updated on 28 November to include:

  • warnings, reprimands and youth cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed on a DBS certificate
  • the multiple conviction rule has been removed, meaning that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of offence type or time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed

Some offences will always be disclosed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate (unless they relate to a youth caution). These ‘specified offences’ are usually of a serious violent or sexual nature or are relevant for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
 
All convictions resulting in a custodial sentence, whether or not suspended, will always be disclosed.
 
You can see a list of ‘specified offences’ here and read more about the way filtering is changing here.
 
Disclosure Scotland
 
Disclosure Scotland changes which come into effect on 30 November, are all part of a series of updates being made as part of The Disclosure (Scotland) Act 2020, which was passed on 14 July 2020.
 
The new legislation is designed to maintain a focus on the safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, while also balancing allowing people with certain convictions to move on from their past so they can contribute to society.
 
While a lot of the changes are still to come, and we will write to you again when these are put in place, the changes happening now will seek to create fairness in how previous convictions are including in their reports.
 
These include:
  •  
  • Adjustments to the criminal convictions that people need to disclose to prospective employers
  • A reduction in the length of time that many convictions need to be disclosed by most job applicants, or in other instances such as when applying for insurance
  • Information about behaviour which occurred while a person was under 12 will only be included on an enhanced disclosure or PVG scheme record if an independent reviewer agrees it should be

The reforms will not change disclosure periods for more serious convictions which result in prison sentences above four years. Disclosure rules for sensitive occupations such as teaching, or medicine will also not change.
 
If you wish to read more detailed information about these changes, you can find out more via the following links:
Further general information can also be found on the Disclosure Scotland website. Secondary legislation, still to be drafted, will also likely reduce the number of disclosures from four main levels (basic, standard, enhanced and PVG) to two (Level 1 and Level 2).
 
We will publish a further blog when news of this secondary legislation is announced.