Applying for new jobs can be an expensive business. Many employers won’t offer to pay your travel expenses, you might have to take time off work or buy a new outfit. If you’re applying for roles which need a police check, then this can seem like just another expense. The picture about who actually pays for police checks is a bit confusing for many.
What is a police check anyway?
Police checks aren’t about checks on people applying to join the police. These sorts of checks are also sometimes called Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. Not all jobs need police checks. Checks are about giving employers the full picture about any criminal record which you have. You don’t pass or fail a police check. Any employer will look at the information in front of them and think about whether they want to offer you a job.
My employer is offering to pay
In many situations, employers choose to absorb the cost of doing DBS checks on new workers. There’s no law which says they have to though so it makes sense to ask about their policy at interview. If your employer pays for your check then all you need to do is follow their application process and meet their deadlines for providing documents and completing the form.
I pay, the employer refunds me
Another common scenario is that the employer asks you to pay, with the promise of a refund in your first pay packet. From an employer’s point of view, this is hedging against the risk of them paying for a DBS check and then you deciding you don’t want to work for them after all. Asking you to pay for your checks to be done shows some commitment to the job.
I pay, no refund
Some employers just refuse to pay towards their workers’ DBS checks. Unfortunately, they are entirely within their rights to do so. Before agreeing to fund your own DBS checks, make sure you have a firm job offer in writing. You don’t want to be paying for a police check and then finding that the job offer wasn’t serious. If you are applying for lots of jobs with employers who all work in the same way, the cost of repeated checks can soon mount up.
One way round this is to sign up with the DBS Update service. Being a member of the service costs a bit more than just running one check, but gives you online access to your record. Your file is always accurate, as any new information is automatically added to your file. If you’re a DBS Update member, you can just let your employer log into your account and verify your information on screen instantly. There’s no cost to them, and it means you can start work right away. If you switch employers a lot, and seem to be constantly asked for new checks, then it’s definitely worth looking into becoming a member of DBS Update.