Disclosure of Information (DBS and Barring Lists)
The police hold information about arrests and convictions. Sometimes the police disclose information which in turn is provided to potential employers via DBS checks and is also relied on when assessing visa applications. It is essential that the information held about us is accurate and that it is only provided to third parties with our consent. It is also important that we can access the data held about us.
Occasionally the police wrongly record that a person has a serious conviction and disclose this to third parties, leading to the person being refused a job and/or sacked by their employer, refused visa clearance, evicted by a local authority from their council property and/or vilified in the local community.
What is a DBS?
When you apply for certain jobs or certain roles, a ‘criminal record certificate’ (DBS check) may be requested.
There are different levels of criminal record certificate including:
- A basic criminal record certificate.
- A standard criminal record certificate
- An enhanced criminal record certificate (with or without barring information)
A basic criminal record certificate will show any unspent convictions.
A standard criminal record certificate will show both spent and unspent convictions but is subject to filtering provisions which will currently weed out convictions and cautions after a period of time unless:
- They appear on a list of offences which will never be filtered
- There is more than one conviction
- A period of imprisonment has been imposed for an offence.
An enhanced certificate will provide details of both spent and unspent convictions and additional information that the police feel is relevant to the position that you are applying for. This may include information on an acquittal or an allegation that has been made or concerns about incidents involving you (which may have arisen during contact with agencies such as social services, mental health services or other public bodies). An enhanced certificate may also contain information on whether you are subject to barring from working with children or vulnerable adults.
Enhanced certificates affect people seeking employment or a voluntary position in a regulated activity in contact with vulnerable adults or children.
An enhanced criminal record certificate could include additional information which are not conviction or caution details and still prevent opportunities for employment or activity.
Officially, it is a matter for individual employers to consider the information on a certificate and come to an informed decision but the courts have accepted that an entry on a certificate can be a “killer blow” to any job application.
Our Civil Liberties and Public Law specialists can help with:
- Advice on the likely disclosure of conviction or caution details by the DBS
- Representations to the police against disclosure of non-conviction information to the DBS
- Representations against Barring
- Raising a dispute with the DBS
- Representations to the independent monitor seeking a review of proposed disclosure
- Judicial review of decisions to disclose information
Different levels of legal aid may be available for your case and we always assess new enquiries to see if they are in scope for funding – this will depend on the facts/type of case and means assessment. Wherever a case falls outside of scope we may be able to offer you a fixed fee and/or our hourly rates. All these funding options can be discussed with our new enquiry team.
2 steps to contacting Howells:
We’ll listen carefully to you, clarify what you’re trying to achieve, and then explain if and how we can help you. We will take some initial information and liaise with a legal professional regarding your case. If it looks like we can help, we will book you in for a consultation with a legal professional.