DBS Checks FAQ’s – Employers

The term “DBS Checks” refers to Criminal Record Checks carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service via DBS registered umbrella bodies.

There are three levels of check:

  • Basic DBS Check
  • Standard DBS Check
  • Enhanced DBS Check

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is an executive agency of the Home Office and provides access to criminal record information through its checking service via registered umbrella bodies. The DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

The DBS is responsible for:

  • processing requests for criminal records checks (DBS checks)
  • deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from a barred list
  • placing or removing people from the DBS children’s barred list and adults’ barred list for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

After a DBS check is completed an Official Disclosure Certificate (sometimes referred to as a disclosure document) is issued by the DBS showing the results of the check.

Depending on the type of check requested, it may contain details of spent and unspent convictions, reprimands, warnings and where appropriate, local police records.

If a Disclosure contains no record of criminal convictions it is considered to be a testament to good character and conduct.

Criminal record checks must only be requested with the knowledge and consent of the applicant (the subject of the check), and the type of check requested must be correct for the purpose for which it has been requested.

Employers and agencies can only request a standard or enhanced check on a person if that’s person’s job role meets certain criteria.

Individuals wishing to apply for their own criminal record check are only able to apply for a basic check. This can be through the DBS directly here.

Primarily, DBS Checks are used by businesses, companies, recruitment agencies and organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors, to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work that involves children or vulnerable adults.

However, many companies and organisations are now using DBS checks as an essential part of their recruitment procedure to ensure their current and prospective staff members are of good character.

DBS Basic Checks are also available to individuals for visa applications, for an application for a personal liquor licence, to check if you have a criminal record, or to provide official evidence that you have a clean record, which is becoming increasingly popular for job applications.

Most basic and standard disclosures are completed within one week, although sometimes a particular check may take longer.

Most enhanced disclosures are completed within two weeks. Enhanced disclosures go through an additional police checking stage. Where local police records contain additional information that might be relevant to the post the applicant is being considered for, the Chief Officer of Police may release information for inclusion in an Enhanced Disclosure. The time taken is dependent on the Chief Officer of Police in a given County (Police Area) to respond to the request for the additional information held on local police records.

Basic Disclosure – You can track the progress of a Basic Disclosure either:

On-line through the DBS Basic Tracking service,

Or by calling the DBS on: 0300 0200 190.

Standard or Enhanced Disclosure – You can track the progress of a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure either:

On-line through the DBS Tracking service,

Or by calling the DBS on: 0300 0200 190.

Each Disclosure will show the date on which it was provided. The older the Disclosure the less reliable it becomes. The DBS recommends that disclosures should be renewed every 3 years, or when a person changes their employer however, some organisations have regulations that may require renewals at shorter periods.

Disclosure means the giving out of information to be in compliance with legal regulations or workplace rules.

In the law of England and Wales, disclosure refers to a process that may form part of legal proceedings, whereby parties inform (“disclose”) to other parties the existence of any relevant documents that are, or have been, in their control.

A DBS Disclosure – is an official certificate (sometimes referred to as a document) containing impartial and confidential criminal history information held by the police and government departments.

The online DBS Update Service is an online subscription service for applicants to keep their DBS certificates up to date. Employers can check the status of DBS certificates online, however they cannot register employees onto the update service on their behalf.

The DBS can be contacted by:

Disclosure Scotland can be contacted by:

DBS Checks FAQ’s – Individuals

Our application form asks for the following information:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Town and country of birth
  • 5 year address history
  • National Insurance number
  • Passport and driving licence details (if applicable)
  • Mother’s maiden name

If you are self-employed, you cannot register to conduct a standard or enhanced check on yourself. You can register for a Basic DBS check through the DBS here.

On completion of our online form, the company/organisation requesting the check will be informed by email that the application form has been completed and requires ID checking. APCS do not need to see any ID documents as part of the application. The nominated ID checker within the company/organisation will ask to see original ID documents in order to satisfy one of the three ID checking routes accepted by the DBS. The accepted ID documents for Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks can be found here.

As the applicant you will receive the physical copy of the DBS certificate in the post. Your employer will receive a notification of the result by email. If you are conducting a Basic DBS check you can request for the certificate to be delivered to an alternative address.

Once your application has been completed and disclosed, your employer may ask to view your certificate. As the certificate is your property, they can only keep the certificate with your permission. If the organisation requesting the check is regulated by CSSIW, Ofsted or a registered care home inspected by the CQC they may legally be entitled to retain the certificate for the purposes of an inspection.

Basic Disclosure – You can track the progress of your Basic Disclosure either:

On-line through the DBS Basic Tracking service,

Or by calling the DBS on: 0300 0200 190.

Standard or Enhanced Disclosure – You can track the progress of your Standard or Enhanced Disclosure either:

On-line through the DBS Tracking service,

Or by calling the DBS on: 0300 0200 190.

Payment for the DBS check will depend upon the option selected by the company/organisation requesting the check. If payment is requested at the end of the application form, then the company account has been set up for you as the applicant to pay. If no payment is requested after completion of the application form, your employer has opted to pay for the DBS checks.

The Update Service is an online subscription service run and maintained by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS). The online DBS Update Service keeps your DBS certificates up to date and also allows for new employers to check a DBS certificate online. Sometimes this is referred to as having a ‘portable’ DBS.

Registration costs £13 per year, however there’s no charge if you’re a volunteer. You have 30 days from the certificate issue date to register on the update service. You can register for the update service here.

Please note that a Basic DBS check cannot be registered with the Update Service.

If you have not received your DBS certificate 14 days after the issue date, you can request a reprint within 93 days of the certificate issue date. Please note the that address you request the reprint to be sent to must match the current address on the application form. A reprint can be requested from the DBS directly on 0300 0200 190.

Unfortunately, the DBS cannot replace lost/damaged DBS certificates. You will need to conduct a new application if you wish to receive a new certificate.