Had an interesting conversation with a friend who runs a labour agency which sends people to businesses for temp jobs. I asked her whether she conducted criminal records checks of the directors of the SMEs she sends labour to. She said no, and that she didn't know whether that would be legal.

Which is an interesting question. How does she know that the person who runs the pub she's sending agency labour to isn't a murderer?

Can you do a CRB check on a prospective customer? My thinking is not, but this seems like an exceptional situation.

  • would you have a special interest, for example being in the business or selling weapons, ammunition or dangerous chemicals? – Trish Sep 28 '20 at 23:31
  • @Trish yes - supplying labour - potentially young/female etc – Statsanalyst Sep 28 '20 at 23:38
  • Why would it matter if they were a murderer? – Dale M Sep 29 '20 at 2:01
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    @DaleM because you're sending people to work at their place of business?? – Statsanalyst Sep 29 '20 at 2:01
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    @Statsanalyst did you check if your employer was a murderer? – Dale M Sep 29 '20 at 2:19

No, you cannot DBS (formerly CRB) check a customer

DBS checks can only be carried out within an employment or volunteering context, provided specific conditions (such as the profession, work, or type of job) are met. It is not possible to lawfully conduct a DBS check on a customer or supplier, for example - because they are not an employee or a volunteer for your organisation.

It is possible for members of the public to request a DBS Basic check for themselves (this will reveal current active convictions), but not for other people. The other DBS checks are only available to organisations with specific hiring needs as mentioned above.

DBS checks are regulated by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the associated Exceptions Order 1975. A DBS Basic check will reveal active, "unspent" convictions. A "spent" conviction is simply one that no longer shows up on a DBS Basic check. A DBS Enhanced check will reveal all convictions (active and "spent") plus relevant information from police forces depending on the nature of the proposed employment.

Most occupations that work with children or vulnerable adults in some capacity (e.g. lawyer, teacher, nurse, care home worker, school janitor, etc.) will be eligible for a DBS Enhanced check. All other jobs will only be eligible for a DBS Basic check.

There is no legal way for you to find out if a prospective customer or supplier, etc. has a criminal record in the UK.

  • Could she ask the person to complete their own DBS check and provide it to her? – Statsanalyst Sep 29 '20 at 15:19
  • Yes, but they have to pay. – Matthew Sep 29 '20 at 22:05

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