A night of music by James Bradley in aid of Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland.

Disclosure & Barring Service


As a charity we have a duty of care to our staff, volunteers, customers and of course our dogs.

For certain roles an applicant or employee will be asked to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check or check by another relevant body i.e. Disclosure Scotland or Access NI.  This sort of check gives us information on criminal records relating to the applicant or employee.

This document outlines our process for requesting DBS checks and explains how and why we use the information disclosed.

What is a DBS/ Disclosure Scotland/Access NI check and why do we request them?

A DBS/Disclosure Scotland/Access NI check will disclose any current criminal convictions as well as certain spent convictions and, in some cases, will include information held by the Department of Health and the Department of Education.

There are 2 types of DBS check that we may request – a Standard check and an Enhanced check – but we are only legally entitled to ask applicants/employees for a DBS check if a role meets certain criteria.

The basis on which a DBS check can lawfully be carried out is set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 and in the Police Act Regulations.

We request a DBS check for certain roles so that we can make informed recruitment decisions. Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us, however it may preclude you from certain roles.

Which roles require a DBS check/ how will I know if I am required to undergo a DBS check?

We will request a DBS check for roles where there is:

  • Regular or unsupervised interaction with children and/or vulnerable individuals
  • Responsibility for handling significant financial transactions on behalf of Assistance Dogs NI

Roles within Assistance Dogs NI which will require a DBS check are broadly as follows but this list is not exhaustive:

Standard Checks – Roles with responsibility for significant financial transactions on behalf of Assistance Dogs NI and/or occasional contact with children or vulnerable individuals. This type of check is needed for roles within:

  • The Finance team
  • The Fundraising team

Enhanced Checks – Roles which involve regular and/or unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable individuals. This type of check is needed for the following roles:

If you are applying for a role that requires a DBS check it will be stated in the job advert.

What do we do with the information disclosed to us?

The information disclosed in a DBS check allows us make employment decisions that are in the best interests of our staff, volunteers, customers, beneficiaries and supporters.

If a check discloses details of a current or spent conviction we will assess whether this is relevant to the role being applied for.

If we consider the nature of the offence detailed is of direct relevance to the nature of the role being applied for and/or would adversely impact on the reputation of Assistance Dogs NI or risk our ability to deliver our  charitable objectives we will withdraw our offer of employment.

Convictions that can never be spent – i.e. a conviction carrying a custodial sentence of 30 months or more or any form of cruelty/neglect involving animals – will automatically bar an applicant or employee from any role in Assistance Dogs NI. It is also unlikely we would offer employment where a check highlighted either a current or unspent conviction for violent assault or a serious sexual offence.

Any matter revealed in a disclosure will be discussed with you before an offer of employment is withdrawn.

DBS checks for existing employees

Existing employees in relevant roles may be required to undergo a DBS Disclosure.  This will be either:

  • if they have not already undergone a check
  • if their role or duties change to include an increased level of trust or exposure to vulnerable groups
  • if they have undergone a check before, we will request updated disclosure information from time to time to ensure that no new convictions have been given.

Employees who are required to undergo a DBS check are also required to disclose any convictions they receive whilst in our employment.

Being convicted of a criminal offence when already in employment with Assistance Dogs NI will not necessarily result in dismissal – any decision to terminate employment will be made by the ADNI Board or CEO in liaison with the line manager and following the policy set out above. However failure to disclose a criminal conviction is likely to result in disciplinary proceedings which may end in an employee’s dismissal.

Process for recruitment

Roles that are subject to a DBS check will be appropriately advertised so applicants are aware of this at the point of application.

At the point where an offer of employment is made the recruitment team will advise the relevant applicant/employee of the need to complete a DBS check and ensure the process is completed.

All offers of employment made for roles subject to a DBS check are conditional upon receiving a satisfactory disclosure.  ‘Satisfactory’ is defined as nothing to disclose or a disclosure/s that are not deemed relevant to the role and/or would not adversely impact the reputation of Assistance Dogs NI or run the risk of us breaching our duty of care.

Applicants are required to share the contents of their disclosure with the Recruitment Team within 10 working days of receipt of their disclosure.

A copy of your disclosure will be stored on your personnel file. In accordance with data protection and equal opportunities laws the content of your disclosure will only be shared with those persons required to make a decision about your employment/on-going employment.

Applicants do not have to consent to a DBS check being carried out or share anything disclosed. However, if consent is not given when requested, and the DBS is required for the role, the offer of employment will be withdrawn.