Criminal Records Check

Friday, August 7th, 2009 - career change, Employment, Job Advert, Job Application, job search, Legal, Medical Jobs, Professional CV, Qualifications, recruitment

Criminal Records Check


For some jobs, or activities in the UK, you may be asked to undertake a Criminal Records Bureau Check.

Generally, anything job or activity which requires contact with children or vulnerable adults would require a CRB check. This would hence include teaching, children’s clubs, or many activities associated with the elderly or disabled. You could also be asked to undertake a CRB check if you work in certain professions, notably accountancy, health and legal professions; in some work areas, your partner could also be asked for a CRB check.

The area which normally catches people out, as many professional bodies note to their members the need for a CRB check on registration, is that of charity trustees who may volunteer to work in charities which work in children services or care for the elderly. You could also be asked for a CRB check if you apply for certain licenses, notably for handling explosives or providing a National Lottery machine. For the full list, check the full list on the CRB website

CRB Check Guidance

Now, CRB checks are good things, and mean our most vulnerable members of society are protected. There are also a few rules which needs to be observed when applying.

Firstly, the organisation which asks you to apply needs to be registered with the CRB. Part of this process means they agree to only apply for a CRB check where the job is assessed as one where a CRB check is required, and not for all jobs applicants. This means that if you apply for a job as an HGV driver through a recruitment agency which also supplies care workers, they can not use the CRB system to check you out

Secondly, there are two types of check, and the organisation which asks you to apply should – from the job advert onwards – include the fact that a CRB check is necessary for the successful applicant. A standard check involves disclosure of:

  • Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings held in England and Wales on the Police National Computer, the most of the relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included;

If the position involves working with children or vulnerable adults, in the sectors or areas which are able to access them, and the relevant boxes have been marked on the application form, in Section Y (Y3 or Y4), to indicate this:

  • Information from the Protection of Children Act List (PoCA)
  • Information from the Protection of Vulnerable Adults List (POVA)
  • Information held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 of those considered unsuitable for, or banned from working with children.

The Advanced check is only required where there is close contact with children, and additionally includes detailed local police information notes

Does a CRB check disqualify ex-offenders? No, not necessarily, and when one fifth of the UK population are estimated to have a criminal conviction, the focus is on checking defined activity and unspent convictions, not everything. Ex-offenders retain the protection afforded by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, so anything which is not relevant will not be disclosed. In addition, the CRB and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) have developed very useful guidance information for employers on CRB checks

Thirdly, be wholly honest in the information you insert into your CRB check. Use your full name or known names, and the same with addresses and all other requested information. The BBC Scotland reporter Arifa Farooq who was commissioned by Panorama to investigate care homes was arrested by Strathclyde Police for contravention of Section 123 of the Police Act 1997: in other words, giving a false name. If you are tempted to do the same thing, then much as though you might have a clean CRB check now, doing so will result in a conviction which would appear in any future CRB check, and hence invalidate your job application. So, be honest!

There is a fee to be paid for a CRB check, which most employers and agencies ask the employee to pay – some will reimburse the cost once successfully completed. As the form is co-signed by both the applicant (employee) and registered organisation (employer), both receive a copy of the CRB check. It can take around six weeks at peak for the paperwork to return (August, processing new graduate teachers), although a more normal time scale is around four weeks, so allow this is your job search time table.

If you already have a CRB check, then when applying for a new job where you know such a procedure will be required, state the fact high on the top half of the first page in your Professional CV and include it in your list of qualifications/training. It may transpire that the new employer requires a fresh CRB check procedure to be run, but stating you already have passed the procedure means your chances of passing the CV sifting stage are greatly increased

You can obtain more information on CRB checks, and good guidance, from the Criminal Records Bureau website.

Good Luck!


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2 Responses to “Criminal Records Check”

  1. Darpak Says:

    Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! I found your blog on Google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  2. Matt Says:

    Thanks – very helpful post!

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