Working in HR can be taxing at times, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations. Wouldn’t life be easier if there was a screening process that could inform you about employees’ colourful pasts before it was too late?

This is where DBS checks can make a huge difference.

Its name may have changed but a DBS check, otherwise known as a CRB check, remains a valuable tool to assist businesses and HR managers in making smarter and safer recruitment decisions. The professional check allows employers to obtain details about the employee’s criminal history and make informed decisions about whether they are appropriate for the role or not.

It is important to note that the check does not provide a barrier of entry for people who do have criminal convictions to gain employment, it simply aims to assist employers. For example, when hiring for a cash-handling position it would be useful to know whether the applicant has any prior theft convictions.

Which industries require DBS checks?

It is a common misconception that DBS checks are only beneficial to industries that involve vulnerable people, such as health, education and care. Yet, DBS checks can provide businesses from all sorts of industries the freedom and peace of mind they need to make the right choices regarding their staff.

A large proportion of businesses trust their employees with sensitive information and access to consequential aspects of the business, such as keys, credit card details and passwords, not to mention access to confidential customer information that could be misused. According to the Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse 2014, 5 percent of a typical business’ annual revenue is lost each year as a result of employee fraud. Even more worryingly, 72 percent of fraud cases affecting businesses involved an internal member of staff, The Kroll Global Fraud Report 2014 also found.

In recent years there has been an increase in the amount of people providing false or misleading information, 70 percent of companies claim to be victims of some kind of fraud, Kroll’s report found. With this in mind, ensuring that your employees have a DBS check is a practical and time-effective way to ensure that you don’t hire the wrong person and discover something about their past that could jeopardise your business before it’s too late.

Different levels of checks

The industry and job role dictates the level of DBS check that is required, and there are three levels of check which include basic, standard and enhanced.

Basic disclosures can be purchased by either an individual or an employer and searches the applicant’s history for any unspent convictions. The next level of check is the standard check, which searches the applicant’s history for any cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions (both spent and unspent). This type of check is useful for the majority of industries where the member of staff has important responsibilities, including handling money, having keys to the business and accessing sensitive data. While these checks will suffice for most roles, if your company or role involves working with children or vulnerable adults, a more comprehensive check would be required.

Enhanced checks are the most rigorous, they disclose all of the information on someone’s criminal record such as cautions, warnings, reprimands, convictions and they also search for the individual’s name on the Child Barred List. The Barred list contains names of all individuals who are banned from working with children and adults and it is an illegal offence for anyone on the Barred list to request or be employed to work with vulnerable adults or children. This level of check should only be required for industries which involve the care of children and vulnerable adults, however they may also be required when carrying out contract work, such as building contractors working on a school site, for example.

Time and cost effective

We all know how important saving time and money is in the hectic world of HR, especially when you’ve thrown all of your energy and budget into hiring someone new over the last few months. The worst thing that could happen is to have to let them go due to misconduct, thus beginning the entire arduous and costly process once again.

A DBS check can help businesses to eliminate situations such as these and counteract the drain on resources, as they highlight whether there may be any future issues with the employee’s behaviour at an earlier stage. As companies now offer online and telephone applications, obtaining an employee DBS check is a much quicker process than you may have first anticipated and checks can be completed in as little as 24 hours once all of the necessary information is completed.

Builds a positive brand reputation

Every company wants to improve their brand reputation, it might not be immediately obvious but ensuring that your employees are DBS checked can have a significant impact on the way your brand is perceived.

Making people aware of your stringent security policies promotes your brand as one that cares about safety, employee and customer happiness and open communications. In addition to this, a survey by HireRight found that 67 percent of companies that used background checks during the recruitment process found that it improved the quality of people that they hired. High quality staff means better staff morale, efficiency and therefore greater customer service. It certainly won’t take long for these positive effects to trickle down and boost your whole business!

With standard DBS checks starting from around £55, the question is can you really afford not to invest in them?