Thousands of people apply for disclosure checks each year. Most of them need a DBS certificate because of the work they do. There are three different levels of DBS check, and all involve looking into your criminal record. The type of job you do will depend on how deeply the DBS look into your criminal past.
Whatever type of disclosure certificate you need, the first part of the process is completing the application form. The trickiest parts of this dorm are often the name and address fields. This is because the DBS needs a full history of all the names you have ever used, and an address history going back five years. This can cause problems if you have been overseas in the last few years, or grew up in a different country.
Disclosure checks – what information not to give
It’s important to remember that the DBS only want to know about permanent addresses. If you’ve been out of the UK for extended holidays overseas, or have been working overseas, you won’t need to give information about hotels you’ve stayed at. The only addresses you need to tell them about are addresses where you’ve lived permanently. This could be because you were studying overseas, or because you’ve taken a job abroad for an extended period. If you have been overseas, the DBS won’t want to know the exact address of where you were staying. All you need to write on the form is “Overseas”. Provide the month and year you left the UK, and the month and year you returned. If you’re unsure about what information to provide, search online for the DBS’s unusual addresses guide, or give the helpline a call for clarification.
Disclosure checks for overseas workers
The situation gets a whole lot more complicated when recruiting workers from overseas. Every year thousands of qualified professionals from around the world arrive to take jobs in the UK. Most have never lived in the UK before. However, as many will be going into jobs are teachers, nurses, dentists or accountants, they require the same disclosure checks as people who have grown up in the UK. Obviously there is no point in running a check against the UK’s criminal database if someone’s never set foot in the country. However, there are other types of check which applicants from overseas may require.
Overseas Criminal Records checks
Depending on the role, applicants from overseas might be asked to get something similar to a DBS from their home country. And this is where things start to get complicated. No two countries have the same legal system. Most countries do have some sort of system for getting a criminal records check, or a “statement of good character”. For example, the Australian equivalent is National Police Check, and in the Bahamas, the Police Character Certificate. The DBS website has a lot of information about equivalents to disclosure around the world, broken down alphabetically by country. Search for specific information regarding your home country. This will give you the name of the document required, as well as the documents you’ll need, how to apply and the cost.
Often, this type of certificate of good character has to be requested in person. If the applicant is already in the UK, it might mean a trip to the nearest Embassy or consulate. Each country has its own rules about costs and what documentation the applicant has to provide. There are also obvious delays involved with sending information overseas, and depending on the country, there can be considerable delays in searching the database and printing the certificate.
Translation of Documents
Applicants from countries where official paperwork is issued in English don’t need to worry about getting their statements of good character translated. However, for languages other than English, employers might ask for an official translation. This is especially the case for languages which are not commonly spoken in the UK. Having paperwork officially translated adds further delay into the process, and cost too. In some cases the employer might take care of all costs around getting overseas criminal records and having certificates translated, but they don’t have to. If you’re applying for a job in the UK, the employer should be able to guide you through the process.