Our guide to saving money on care recruitment with DBS checks

With ongoing recruitment and retention issues in the care sector, getting the right people on board is crucial – and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are a key part of that. Well, if you’re looking to learn more, you’ve come to the right place! 

Let’s take a look at why DBS checks are important, especially for a care business. 

When it comes to hiring for roles involving children and vulnerable adults, we can’t just rely on that gut feeling alone. Trust us, it’s like pairing socks in the dark—you never know what you might get. 

DBS checks are the flashlight you need in your hiring process. They provide clarity and reassurance when making those crucial decisions by showing you a candidate’s criminal history. It’s like peeking behind the curtain, making sure everything is as it should be. 

And that’s where you, the employer, step into the spotlight. Making those big decisions can feel daunting – we get it. Don’t worry though – we’re here to make it simpler. 

Ready to dive in? In this blog, we’ll:


  • Demystify the types of DBS checks
  • Unravel the importance of DBS in care homes
  • Cover all the bases about DBS in health and social care. 

And buckle up, because we’ll also touch on topics like handling minor convictions and employing people with previous convictions. Let’s roll!

Enhanced DBS checks – a necessity for your care business

DBS checks help you to make safe decisions when recruiting. Working in care means being responsible for treating, caring and supporting vulnerable people, so relying on references alone isn’t an option. 

First things first, the Enhanced DBS check

Not only does it share the standard info of a regular DBS check, but it also dishes up any additional data the police hold about an individual. That’s the golden ticket you’ll need when hiring for care roles, ensuring safety and protection for everyone involved.

The Enhanced DBS check with a Barred List check offers even more insight. If a person shows up on the barred list, then you can discount them immediately. It saves you valuable time and resources and helps you to continue your search for the right person.

Why DBS checks in care are non-negotiable?

You might be wondering why DBS checks are as non-negotiable as your morning coffee. Well, they ensure your business remains a safe haven, prevent staff turnover, and save you some pennies along the way by getting the hiring right the first time around.

Here are a few more compelling reasons:


  • Business safety – Safeguarding vulnerable adults and children is the biggest priority for any care business, period. Preventing dangerous individuals from working in your business goes a long way to achieving this. 
  • Business security – A DBS check ensures your business is sufficiently safeguarded and remains protected against any liability should accusations be made against an individual by clients or other businesses.
  • Staff retention – DBS checks help you to hire the right people to work in care. This leads to happier workers, higher job satisfaction and lower staff turnover. Most importantly, job satisfaction means service users get the care they deserve. Win-win.
  • Cost reduction – Do it wrong, do it twice – and we know how costly recruitment can be. Hiring the right people for care roles saves recruitment costs. Simple as that.

Using DBS checks to recruit safely in the care sector

Let’s chat about how you can use DBS checks for smooth sailing in recruitment within the care sector. Think of them as your crystal ball, showing potential red flags like spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, or any court orders. This helps ensure the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable individuals under your care, keeping your reputation as a reliable care provider intact.

What should you be looking for? Things like:


  • Any spent or unspent convictions?
  • Does the individual have any cautions or reprimands? 
  • Are there any court orders detected in the check? 
  • Have you detected any fraudulent documents submitted in an attempt to disguise any wrongdoing?

What are the consequences of not carrying out a DBS check?

Skipping a DBS check is a bit like forgetting to put the lid on the blender—messy and avoidable! Not following the right DBS guidance for employers could land your business in hot water, with legal repercussions and potential damage to your reputation.

Don’t forget about pre-employment checks…

Pre-employment checks should be the bread and butter for any employer. As an employer in the care sector, you’ll be required to be thorough in your pre-employment check analysis. 

Need a hand with what to think about? These are a good place to start:


  • Does the applicant have the relevant qualifications?
  • What previous experience and credentials do they have?
  • Can the applicant verify their identity?
  • Does the applicant have the right to work? 
  • Can the individual provide sufficient references from previously held roles? 
  • Does the applicant have social media and are there any instances of improper use? 
  • Are there any medical conditions that may impact the applicant’s ability to perform the functions of the role?

Keeping your employees in check after recruitment

Now, imagine you’ve recruited a fantastic team (go you!) and you’re feeling pretty good about the talent you have on board. But sadly, as we all know, circumstances can change, and issues might crop up. Perhaps one of your new recruits (or one of your long-serving employees) has encountered trouble with the law and they’ve not made you aware. 

That’s where your employee handbook comes in handy.

It should outline all the roles and responsibilities that are expected of employees. Your employees are integral to the success of your care business, so communicating all relevant expectations, procedures and safety policies is key. 

Any new recruit that joins needs to be briefed properly during the onboarding process so that they’re aware of the expectations of you and the business. Your employee handbook needs to tick all the right boxes – then your new recruits will know exactly what’s expected of them! 

Don’t forget your existing staff too – your handbook should have a section dedicated to DBS checks and the guidelines on when, where and how to renew. 

If you need a helping hand with this, check out our employee handbooks page here.

Can I employ somebody with minor convictions on their DBS?

What if a minor conviction pops up during a DBS check? 

Well, if the individual is on the barring list, they can’t be considered. But, if not, an open, honest discussion could be just the tool to understand the context. It’s all about being fair and understanding, just like how you would want to be treated.

The best approach for job applicants with previous convictions

We understand it’s not an easy position to be in as an employer. That’s why good communication is key. 

You and your prospective employee should discuss the following points together: 


  • Are the answers and information provided in the interview process correct? Maybe now is the time to extract a little more background information, as the applicant may not have felt comfortable sharing certain things.
  • Is your questioning empathetic and does it consider the sensitivity of the feelings of the individual? 
  • A colleague taking notes can help you remain focused on asking the questions and getting the details. It also helps you from being distracted from frantically taking notes. 
  • Always remain impartial about the conviction that was granted. You don’t want to let any biased thinking cloud your judgement.
  • Are there measures you can implement to minimise risks? 
  • All findings from the discussion should be documented and stored safely and correctly. Not only is it best practice, but it helps the integrity of any potential case.

Build a better care business with our HR & Employment Law service

We’re here to guide you through these tricky waters, ensuring your care business stays safe, compliant, and flourishing. You can trust you’re in safe hands with our team of in-house care experts and HR & Employment Law experts, as well as ex-CQC inspectors, who have years of experience supporting care businesses like yours. 

Our HR & Employment Law support package does the hard work for you so you can focus on what you do best, offering round-the-clock advice, document assistance, commercial advice, and more. Reach out to us today, grab a cup of tea, sit back, and let us do the hard work for you!

Simply call 0345 844 1111 to speak to a member of the team today or contact us here.

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