DBS: Who needs a DBS check?
Community Volunteers - The Government has produced a safety factsheet designed to address specific concerns that people involved in supporting their community may have at this time.
Healthcare & Social Care Workers - In response to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have put temporary arrangements in place, to provide standard and enhanced DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and children’s Barred Lists, free-of-charge.
This applies to healthcare and social care workers in England and Wales, being recruited in connection with the provision of care and treatment of coronavirus, or those being recruited to backfill roles because of the impact of the pandemic.
Who Requires a DBS check?
- For Salaried GP's & Locums. If a DBS has already been undertaken in order to be admitted to the performers list (pre the Covid-19 pandemic) and for those who were in their practice prior to 1st April 2013 (when CQC came into being) a DBS is not needed until/unless they change practice or change status e.g. from Salaried GP to Partner. In these circumstances a risk assessment needs to be undertaken including ensuring they are on the Medical Performers List and that they have current GMC registration. Also obtain satisfactory references and check their C.V. to ensure there are no un-explained gaps in employment etc. The National Performers List website can be accessed at: http://www.performer.england.nhs.uk/ . Ensure you keep a written risk assessment of the steps taken. If offered a DBS certificate then take a copy or at least record the number and check it online if it’s a transportable version. Ensure you keep a written risk assessment of the steps taken.
- For Partners, please note the Wessex LMC is not authorised to undertake DBS checks for GP Partners. Any DBS checks required for partners must be undertaken via the CQC. This is because as part of the legal entity of the practice, CQC insist on them being the authorized signatory rather than the LMC. Details can be found on their website page http://www.cqc.org.uk/organisations-we-regulate/registering-first-time/criminal-record-checks. Any new partner joining the practice form 1st April 2013 onwards will need a CQC countersigned DBS check and there are no exceptions to this. If a partner has been through the revalidation process, they will still require a CQC countersigned check. Revalidation is assurance for the GMC but DBS is assurance for CQC.
- If a Locum GP changes status to become a full partner then you need to advise CQC as your registration changes. The new partner will then need a CQC countersigned DBS check which ideally should take place before they can take up the post.
- For GP Registrars, they will be DBS checked as part of the process of being added to the Medical Performers List. This will be done at the time they become and ST3. Wessex LMCs can undertake Registrar checks via our online application process. Please see below for further guidance on DBS requirements for trainees in practice.
- Other members of staff who joined the Practice after 1st April 2013 need to be risk assessed to see whether a DBS check is required. The rule of thumb is that all clinicians, nurses, HCA’s, phlebotomists & chaperones need an "enhanced check" plus anyone else who may be in a one to one situation with a child or vulnerable adult – so not usually admin staff or receptionists but probably the Practice Manager/Deputy etc – a "standard check" would suffice for these roles.
For Chaperones A few practices have been advised that all of their chaperones must have a DBS check even where they’ve been working at the surgery and as a chaperone for many many years. The practices involved have undertaken risk assessments, the staff have undergone training, they’re following their chaperone policy to the letter and we had initially advised that this was OK. We asked CQC Inspector Joanne Ward if anything has changed. Her response is: All staff who chaperone need to have a risk assessment to determine need for a DBS and record how the decision was made. The practice policy needs to state the role of the chaperone clearly including how to ensure assessment to be a chaperone, training and specifics of the role requirements. However if they do not have a DBS completed then the role of that chaperone must include that they leave the room if the clinician leaves the room. We find most practices do ensure that DBS checks are completed and this is encouraged.
For Dispensing staff, the practice will need to carry out a risk assessment to determine if the staff member requires a check and have this assessment documented on file. If the dispensing staff member is to undertake one to one consultations then an enhanced DBS check is sugessted.
- For Locum Practice Nurses, the individual will require an enhanced DBS check specific to their place of work, unless they are in receipt of a transportable DBS certificate.
- Any volunteers within the surgery also need to be risk assessed. Contract cleaners do not need a DBS check unless the practice states in its own policy that a check is required. It was originally thought that cleaners required a DBS check as they could observe financial or confidential data but DBS and CQC have clarified that this is about protecting patients. Practices sometimes choose to insist upon a check to ensure that anyone left alone/unobserved in their building is a fit person for this purpose.
- If you yourself require a DBS check, please do not apply on behalf of yourself, please speak to your manager about arranging this for you. Your Manager will need to initiate your application and verify your identity documents for us. Should you create your own application online the system will not allow you to proceed. Please ask a Manager to create the application for you.
DBS requirements for Trainees in a Practice Placement
Foundation doctors (F2) in a GP placement
F2 doctors are employed by a hospital trust and have a DBS check at the start of their F2 year.. As they remain with the same employer, this DBS is sufficient for the duration of the F2 year. F2 doctors are exempt from requirement to be on the National Medical Performers List. The practice can ask to see trainees’ current DBS certificate.
F2 trainees are covered by crown indemnity as employees of the acute trust. However it is recommended that the trainee takes out individual “top up” indemnity cover with a defense organisation in addition to Crown indemnity provided by the acute trust.
ST1 and ST2 trainees in a GP placement
ST1 and ST2 trainees going into their first placement in a practice will be applying for the National Medical Performers List which is a requirement for any doctor working in a practice (except for F2 doctors). They will need to have an enhanced DBS with the online update subscription.
The trainee must apply for the NPL before they start in the practice and the practice manager should check that the trainee has done this as soon as they arrive in the practice together with checking that the trainee has appropriate medical defense cover for working in General Practice.
Trainees have a three month period of grace from the start of their placement for their application for the NMPL to be processed and this includes obtaining their DBS and online update if they do not already have one. The trainee can start work in a practice while their application for the NMPL is being processed (including the DBS check). The practice can ask to see the trainee’s previous DBS while a new check is being processed.
ST3 trainees in a GP placement
ST3 trainees will usually already be on the NMPL if they have had a previous GP placement in ST1 or ST2. GP trainees must maintain their subscription to the online DBS update service while they are on the NMPL so that their employers and the Area Team can check their DBS status from time to time. If a trainee has allowed their annual subscription to the DBS update service to lapse, they will need a new DBS and will have to sign up again for the update service (this is funded by the trainee). If the ST3 trainee is already on the NMPL, they can start working in the practice while their DBS is being processed and the practice can ask to see the trainee’s previous DBS. The practice should also check that the trainee has appropriate medical defense cover for working in General Practice.
The Area Team has provided the following information about DBS:
SOP Medical Performer List v2 Final 12
6.2 Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
Previously, a certificate issued by the Criminal Records Bureau was a requirement. This certificate is no longer acceptable as it has been superseded by an enhanced disclosure and barring certificate issued by the DBS. Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service
The disclosure and barring update service applicant guide, dated January 2014 states that subscription to the online update service is not a requirement of the DBS but some organisations may make subscription a condition of employment. NHS England has placed this requirement on all applications to the performers list and it reserves the right to use the online checking at regular intervals during the period that the performer is included on the performers list to assure itself that there have been no material changes to the performers status.
In addition it is a requirement that applicants must register for the online update service within 14 days of the certificate being issued. This subscription to the DBS online update service must be renewed every year and is at the cost of the applicant.
Applicants seeking to join the Performer List will be required to complete and submit these forms themselves and can use any one of the umbrella bodies recommended by the Home Office for supporting applicants with their DBS application. These umbrella bodies can be found at https://dbs-ub-directory.homeoffice.gov.uk/
Once the applicant has registered with the DBS online service and the details have been forwarded by the applicant to the PCS office, an online check must be undertaken as part of the application process.
In the interest of NHS performers and patient safety when the applicant attends the PCS offices an identity check will be completed to the standard as set out on the DBS website. http://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring- service-check. This is the standard ID verification process recommended by the Home Office, NHS Employers and the DBS.
Risk Assessing Staff for a DBS check
Click here to view the Risk Assessment Tool
What Happens when Convictions are Disclosed?
In applying for job vacancies there maybe occasions when applicants disclose previous convictions. What do you do? Also, whilst the vast majority of DBS checks come back clear, there will be occasions when some will be returned showing convictions. Has the practice got anything in place to deal with such a scenario?
Essentially this will involve a risk assessment, however there are other factors that will also need to be looked at and considered.
Julie Meakin from The Vine Medical Group has developed a protocol and risk assessment template to deal with these issues. You may download and adapt for your practice should you wish to do so, with kind thanks to Julie.
Standard or Enhanced Check?
Click here for guidance on applying for a Standard or Enhanced DBS check
Are you Legally Entitled to ask for a DBS check?
Click here for guidance on the legal right to ask for a DBS check
Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy Statement
Click here to view the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy Statement