DBS certificates and the CQC

Frustrated expression with CQC inspection

Is there conflict between DBS guidance and the CQC?

During a recent Practice Manager workshop the question of where to file DBS certificates came up.

It appears that some CQC inspectors are expecting to find the certificates on individual employee files as evidence that criminal record checks have been undertaken (where relevant). This raises concerns that some inspectors’ expectations may conflict with the relevant legislation and Code of Practice regarding the handling and storage of Disclosure and Barring Service certificate information.

This can cause confusion during an inspection and, at worst, the implication is that a practice may be judged as not having a robust procedure for DBS checking or is deemed unable to provide evidence that all eligible employees have undergone statutory DBS checks.

What does the Disclosure and Barring Service say?

The correct storage of DBS information is paramount and DBS guidance sets out what you should be doing.

The Disclosure and Barring Service requires that:

  • information revealed is considered only for the purpose for which it was obtained
  • there are strict rules on who has access to the information
  • it should be destroyed after a suitable period has passed – usually not more than 6 months.

Therefore, it makes sense to keep the certificates separately, with restricted access, and in date order so you can keep track of when to dispose of them.

What evidence should you keep?

Obviously, you do need evidence that the DBS check has been undertaken, is complete and satisfactory. The DBS guidance confirms that you should keep the following information:

  • a record of the date of issue of a certificate
  • the name of the subject (person)
  • the type of certificate requested
  • the position for which the certificate was requested
  • the unique reference number of the certificates
  • and the details of the recruitment decision taken

This information can be recorded, for example, on your computerised HR system, a spreadsheet or on individual personnel files, with due regard to data protection requirements.

You must not keep a record of any criminal offences or convictions or any other information contained on the certificate except that listed above.

Essential policies

The Code of Practice also requires (amongst other things) that you should have policies in place covering:

  • Handling and storage of DBS disclosure information
  • Recruitment of ex-offenders

If you have any concerns about what you need to do, contact us to ensure your recruitment policies and pre-employment check procedures are compliant and up-to-date.