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Do You Need A DBS Check for Online Work?

DBS checks are becoming an increasingly common requirement for a wide variety of jobs. As remote-working and online jobs become more mainstream, many people will be wondering if they still need a DBS check for positions where they don’t go into a physical work location. Essentially, online work is not legally distinct from working in a location; in this article, we take a look at what kinds of online jobs might require a DBS check, to help you understand the nuances of the modern job market.

Online vs in person

Legally, there is no real distinction between online and in-person work. For example, if you’re working as a counsellor for vulnerable individuals, you’ll still need to have an enhanced check carried out whether you’re doing sessions online or in a healthcare setting. Likewise, if you’re a lawyer working from home, you have access to the same sensitive material you’d have access to if you were working in an office. In terms of DBS checks, where you work has no impact on whether you need a background check carried out; it depends on the role you’re in, and the industry.

How do I get a DBS check for online work?

Getting a DBS check carried out is the same if you’re working online or in person. If it’s a basic check then you can have the check carried out online, by filling in the appropriate form and verifying your identity. If it’s a standard or advanced check, you’ll need an authorised employer to request that the check be carried out for you.

What online jobs require a DBS check?

DBS checks are generally required when you’re working in a position that puts you in contact with sensitive information or individuals. If there’s an increased possibility that you could harm either a person or a business, then your employer has a duty to ensure that you aren’t hiding anything about your criminal background.

Standard check

Generally (but not always,) if it’s information that’s at risk, you’ll be required to have a standard check carried out. The standard checks for spent and unspent criminal convictions, reprimands and warnings. Jobs with high professional standards often ask for this, such as accountants, lawyers, security guards, and vets.

Enhanced check

If you’re working in an unsupervised situation with sensitive individuals, you will likely need to have an enhanced check carried out, potentially with a barred list check as well. The enhanced check looks for the same information as the standard check, in addition to any information that the local police department considers relevant to the specific position. 

A barred list check will see if you’re on any lists that would bar you from working with sensitive individuals. Positions that commonly require enhanced checks include teachers, nurses, doctors, carers, and social workers.