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We have provided a series of frequently asked questions together with answers that may help you to understand the process more. If you are unable to find a question or answer that you have please email us your question on info@disclosures.co.uk. What exactly is Atlantic Data Ltd. and how does it operate?
Atlantic Data Ltd. is a registered Umbrella Body with the both the Disclosure and Barring Service and the Disclosure Scotland, which enables us to offer disclosure services to its clients. This means Atlantic Data Ltd. is able to obtain Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosures for organisations seeking to carry out out checks on personnel. To use our services all organisations must enter into agreement to ensure the Disclosure Code of Practice is upheld to protect individuals applying for Disclosure.

In addition Atlantic Data Ltd. offers a comprehensive range of services to employers and employees please see "our Services" section in the information area.

What is an umbrella body?
Are organisations which are Registered Bodies with the DBS but which act as intermediaries for other organisations who wish to use the disclosure service but are not registered themselves. The function of an umbrella body is therefore, to countersign applications on behalf of organisations which have chosen not to register in their own right.

What criteria must an umbrella body fulfil?
For an umbrella body to agree to countersign a disclosure on behalf of another organisation, the umbrella body must assure themselves that the organisation, for which the applicant has had to apply for a disclosure, is depending upon the type of Disclosure check entitled to ask an exempted question under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Umbrella Bodies are also responsible for ensuring that all parties with whom they share the disclosure information act in accordance with the Code of Practice.

How can I register to use this service?
To register for the service please contact us. You can find our contact information by selecting the "Contact" link in the information area.

What are the costs?
We provide a range of services for organisations that wish to submit Disclosure applications. Our pricing structure works on a fixed pricing structure. However different organisations require different services in a way that best fits with their organisations structure. With this in mind we believe it is best for you to contact us to discuss our services and to find out which services are best for you.

About Disclosures - The Fundamentals...
What is Disclosure?

A Disclosure is a document that contains an individual's criminal history (according to the police and government departments) which employers can use to make safer recruitment decisions. Disclosure results are provided in certificates which can be used in conjunction with applications for employment.

Why is disclosure important?
It is a way to help protect the vulnerable in our society by providing a system whereby those deemed unsuitable to work with, or be in a position of responsibility and trust over, either children or adults, are identified. In this way disclosure helps organisations to make more thorough recruitment decisions.

How does the Disclosure process work?
In order for an individual or organisation to make a Disclosure application they must register with the DBS to become a registered body in their own right. This means nominating a lead counter signatory for your organisation who, will have to undergo an enhanced disclosure check themselves. There is however a registration fee of £300. Alternatively an individual or organisation may prefer to undertake the services of an Umbrella Body like Atlantic Data Ltd. who will act as an intermediary and countersign the application on the organisation or individual's behalf. Once either of these two routes has been adopted the applicant must fill out a form which will be checked by the registered body and then sent to the DBS for processing. Finally a Disclosure certificate will be issued to the applicant.

Who needs to apply for a Disclosure check?
Anyone who is working with children or adults whether in a paid or unpaid capacity will need to have either a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure check. In addition, if an individual is likely to come into contact with vulnerable people either through the course of their work or for a specific purpose, then it is likely that your organisation will need to ensure a disclosure check is carried out. This includes Trustees of Children's Charities and individuals who sit on the management committees of projects that work with children. A Disclosure may only be requested for those applicants for whom you are offering employment.

We are a Voluntary organisation our volunteers are not employed, do we need to carry out Disclosure Checks?
In the same way as non-voluntary organisations, voluntary organisations whether large or small, carry the same responsibility for using safe selection procedures. Whilst this may put some people off, the safety and well-being of children and adults must come first. Hence, in all organisations which place people in a position of trust over children or adults these checks must be carried out.

What types of Disclosures exist?

There are three types of Disclosure:

Basic Disclosures: All employers and volunteering organisations are entitled to ask prospective employees/volunteers to obtain a Basic Disclosure. This Disclosure is available to all members of the public. Basic Disclosure will show all convictions held on the Police National Computer (PNC) which are not 'spent' as defined under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

Standard Disclosure: A Standard Disclosure shows any cautions, convictions, reprimands and warnings on an applicant's record.

Enhanced Disclosures: An Enhanced Disclosure shows any cautions, convictions, reprimands and warnings on an applicant's record. It is also processed by the local police force. In some instances, it may involve checks against the barring registers

How long does it take to get a disclosure?
The length of time it takes for a Disclosure to reach the applicant greatly depends on the accuracy and completeness of the applicant's application form i.e. all personal information correctly presented and the sufficient number of identity documents provided. From the time the DBS receives an application form, they usually issue a result within 14 and 28 days.

Who will the disclosure be sent to?
The Disclosure result will be sent to the applicant.

For how long is a disclosure valid?
Disclosure certificates have no validity period. This is to say the information provided on the certificate is correct up until the date it was printed but obviously it can not make apparent any new information that may arise on the individual after this date. Hence a disclosure certificate is more useful the sooner it is used by the applicant for the potential job/voluntary position.

Are Disclosures Compulsory?
UK legislation makes Disclosures compulsory for some positions. It is a criminal offence for people with criminal records to work in these positions. It is also a criminal offence to knowingly offer work to such people. When the law does not require a Disclosure but an employer would like all applicants to undergo one, the employer must make it clear from the outset that a satisfactory Disclosure is a condition of employment. If a prospective employee refuses to provide one, the employer is within their rights not to proceed with the application.

About accessing the Disclosure and Barring Service's...
How can I/my organisation gain access to the service?

The individual seeking work applies for all applications. However, if a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure is being requested, then they will have to go through a Registered Body or Registered Umbrella Body. Atlantic Data Ltd. is a Registered Umbrella Body (see about Atlantic Data Ltd.). All organisations who wish to access the service, whether by registering their own organisation or by using a umbrella organisation like Atlantic Data Ltd., must sign up to the Disclosure and Barring Service's Code of Practice and Explanatory Guide for Registered Persons and other recipients of Disclosure Information (Code of Practice). This places stringent rules on the storage and handling of the information and the treatment of applicants. Registration costs £300, plus an extra £5 for each additional Counter signatory. Further information on the registration process can be obtained from the DBS. Disclosure and Barring Service, PO Box 110, Liverpool. L69 3EF Information line: 03000 200 190 Registration application line: 0870 90 90 822

Should my organisation register with the DBS?
There are many factors that you will need to consider when determining whether it is in your best interests to register, or to use an Umbrella Body like Atlantic Data Ltd. The DBS must also decide on the fitness and appropriateness for your organisation as not all organisations cannot be registered. The size and structure of your organisation will be a factor. Some organisations will have personnel departments or senior managers who can handle the extra work, others may feel that it is not appropriate to handle such sensitive information and that they would prefer to access the information indirectly.

We recommend that you consider the following points:

Does your staff turnover justify registration, or would it be more economical to use an Umbrella Body? The cost of registration may be prohibitive since some organisations feel that the cost of registration does not justify the number of disclosures they wish to apply for.

Does your organisation have the administrative capacity to process Disclosures? Consider the responsibilities involved in being a signatory: Do you have anyone suitable and willing of to act as a signatory?

Can you comply fully with the Code of Practice? In particular, can you meet the storage and security requirements and ensure that confidentiality is maintained?

Do you have the knowledge to assess the information contained within the Disclosure?
Do you need to know the detail? You need to know that the law does not prohibit your staff's employment and that their criminal history (if they have one) does not contravene your policy on recruiting ex-offenders. However, there are issues surrounding confidentiality, discrimination and staff working relations, which can be avoided by not seeing the detail.

Whether you decide to register or to use an Umbrella Body, Atlantic Data Ltd. offers a range of Disclosure Services to prepare your organisation for Disclosures.

About making use of disclosure information...

Will Disclosures ensure the safety of my clients?
A Disclosure lets you know if an applicant has a criminal record or (in some cases) is on the barring registers. They should be used along with an employer's other recruitment aids and be viewed in a similar light to references. Strong effective policies and procedures remain the key to ensuring the safety of your clients.

Is Disclosure foolproof?
No. Firstly, remember Disclosure can only tell you about spent or current convictions, or information that has formerly come to the notice of the police. Secondly, remember that the accuracy of the check depends on the personal details, which you provide - you must make sure that applicants are who they claim to be.

If a disclosure reveals an individual to a have a previous conviction, then surely they are not suitable for work?
This is not true. You need to use the Disclosure result information in conjunction with the information you have collected through your selection process. Depending on the position or role you are seeking to fill, a previous conviction may not necessarily bar a person from working with children or adults. And equally it may be illegal to deny someone employment purely on the grounds that they have a criminal record.

About the impact of Disclosures...

Will Disclosures impact on my working practices, policies and procedures?
Disclosures will have an impact on many policies and your whole recruitment process. New policies and procedures will need to be drafted, existing ones amended. Contracts of Employment may need to be amended, which may require consultation/negotiation with existing staff. Recruitment Application Packs will need reviewing and updating. Compliance with the Code of Practice, in particular the storage and handling requirements, may require an office reorganisation.

How much do they cost, and who pays for them?
The DBS’s charges are reviewed annual contact us for current prices. Disclosures are free for volunteers provided they conform to the DBS definition of Volunteer status.

The fee is payable by the applicant, although the employer may wish to reimburse the applicant in certain circumstances. The administration cost of processing the Disclosure application is met by the employer, either in their own staff time if they are a Registered Body, or through the fees charged, if they use a Registered Umbrella Organisation.

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