A DBS check, once known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check is a record of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service.
Why do I need a DBS check?
You may be required to have a DBS check completed if:
You are working with children or vulnerable adults.
You are working in healthcare.
You have applied to be a foster carer, childminder, or to adopt a child.
Some other jobs may also require a DBS.
Are there different types of DBS checks?
There are 4 types of DBS check; basic, standard, enhanced and enhanced with barred lists. You should have been told which type of DBS check is needed so that you can work out what information will appear on the DBS certificate. More information on the different check types can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/telling-people-about-your-criminal-record
I have been asked to complete a DBS check but I’m not sure if the disclosure level is correct, what should I do?
If you believe that the disclosure level is not correct for the job role you will be undertaking then in the first instance you should contact your company’s DBS team, their contact details will be at the bottom of the email which has been sent to you with your login information.
How will the information I provide be used?
The information you provide will be used to undertake a check of your criminal history including spent cautions given by the police and convictions given at court. Employers can use the outcome of the DBS check to assess whether you are eligible to undertake a certain job role.
How long will my DBS check be valid for?
A DBS check has no official expiry. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It’s up to your employer to decide how frequently a new check is needed.
How long will it take to complete the DBS application form?
The online form should only take around 10 minutes to complete, but you will need to supply all of your addresses for any residency over the last 5 years as well as any previous legal name(s) you have held since birth as this may affect the ID verification documents that you provide.
How long will it take for the DBS to process my application?
Each application is different but in general most DBS results are returned within 5-10 days after they have been submitted. However, some results will take longer than this to be returned by the DBS.
Can I track the progress of my application whilst it is with the DBS?
The DBS provide a tracking facility which can be used to track the status of the DBS application whilst it is in progress with the DBS. Once your application has been submitted, the e-form reference number will be emailed to the address you provided on the application form. You will be able to use this number, along with your DOB, to track the progress of the application.
Can I contest the DBS result which has come back from the DBS?
DBS disputes will need to be raised directly with the DBS. Disputes must be raised with the DBS within the first three months (93 days) of the date of issue of the Disclosure.
Do I qualify as a volunteer based on the DBS true definition of a Volunteer?
The DBS definition of a true volunteer, would be someone that answers ‘No’ to the following 4 questions:
Is the applicant in receipt of any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)?
Is the applicant on a Placement/Work Experience?
Is the applicant on a course that requires them to do this job role?
Is the applicant in trainee position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification?
The DBS do not charge for volunteer applicant’s disclosure, but our administration charge is still applicable.
Will I be sent a copy of my DBS certificate?
All DBS checks processed through the system will have a corresponding DBS certificate sent to the applicant by the DBS. The certificate should be presented to a hiring manager before commencing work.
I’ve lost my DBS certificate; can I request a copy be produced?
The DBS can reprint the certificate but only in the following circumstances:
Your DBS certificate was issued over 14 days ago, but you haven’t received it. You can find out the date your certificate was issued on through online tracking.
The reprint request has been made within 3 months (93 days) of the date of issue of your certificate.
The address you request your certificate to be reprinted and sent to matches the address on your DBS application.
However, the reprint request will not be processed in the following circumstances:
The certificate has been accidentally lost or destroyed after you received it.
The DBS certificate was issued more than 3 months ago (93 days). A new DBS check application will need to be submitted with the appropriate fee if a certificate is still needed.
A reprint of the certificate has already been dispatched and the copy has not been received.
For more information please refer to
ID checking guidelines for standard/enhanced DBS check applications from 3 September 2018
The applicant must provide a range of ID documents as part of the DBS check application process. As an employer you must:
follow the three route ID checking process as outlined
check and validate the information provided by the applicant on the application form/ continuation sheet
establish the true identity of the applicant through the examination of a range of documents as set out in this guidance
make sure the applicant provides details of all names by which they have been known
make sure the applicant provides details of all addresses where they have lived in the last five years
check that the application form is fully completed and the information it contains is accurate. Failing to do this can result in delays
When checking the validity of the documents it is best practice to carry out this examination face to face. Other alternative methods include via a live video link, for example Skype and FaceTime. In both cases you must be in physical possession of the original documents. Any risks identified when using live video must be assessed and mitigated by you if implementing this practice. You must not rely on the inspection of the documents via a live video link or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document.
If there are any discrepancies in the information provided by the applicant and/or the identity documents supplied, and fraud is not suspected, please ask the applicant to clarify. If you don’t do this it may compromise the integrity of the DBS service and introduce risk to your recruitment or licensing arrangements.
As an employer you must not attempt to amend the application form without the applicant’s knowledge and agreement. Doing this will invalidate the declaration by the applicant and may breach data protection legislation.
What you must do as part of the ID checking process
you must only accept valid, current and original documentation
you must not accept photocopies
you must not accept documentation printed from the internet e.g. internet bank statements
identity information for the applicant’s name, date of birth and address recorded in section A and section B on the DBS application form must be validated
you should in the first instance, seek documents with photographic identity (e.g. passport, new style driving licence, etc.) and for this to be compared against the applicant’s likeness
all documents must be in the applicant’s current name as recorded in section A
one document must confirm the applicant’s date of birth as recorded in section A
you must ensure that the applicant declares all previous name changes, and provides documentary proof to support the change of name. If the applicant is unable to provide proof to support the change of name, you should hold a probing discussion with the applicant about the reasons why before considering to validate their identity
you must see at least one document to confirm the applicant’s current address as recorded in section B, in accordance with the guidance
you must provide a full and continuous address history covering the last five years. Where possible you should seek documentation to confirm this address history
you should cross-match the applicant’s address history with any other information you have been provided with as part of the recruitment, such as their Curriculum Vitae (CV). This can highlight if an address has not been given e.g. if the applicant’s CV shows that they have worked in Liverpool in the last five years, but the application form only shows London addresses, you may wish to question the applicant further about this
a document from each of the groups should be included only once in the document count e.g. don’t accept two bank statements as two of the required documents, if they are from the same bank
you should not accept the foreign equivalent of an identity document if that document is listed as ‘(UK)’ on the list of valid identity documents
The documents needed will depend on the route the application takes. The applicant must try to provide documents from Route 1 first.
It’s important to note that a DBS check does not provide evidence of a person’s right to work in the UK. You must do a separate check to make sure a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK which also includes roles for voluntary work.
If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) they must use a different route to apply for paid work in the UK. They can use Route 1 for voluntary work.
Three routes of ID checking
The applicant must be able to show:
one document from Group 1, below
2 further documents from either Group 1, or Group 2a or 2b, below
At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address.
If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK or the EEA and is applying for voluntary work they may need to be fingerprinted if they can’t show these documents.
Route 2 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Route 1.
If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK or the EEA and is applying for voluntary work they can’t use Route 2. If the applicant doesn’t have any of the documents in Group 1, then they must be able to show:
one document from Group 2a
2 further documents from either Group 2a or 2b
At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address. The organisation conducting their ID check must then also use an appropriate external ID validation service to check the application.
EEA nationals who’ve been resident in the UK for 5 years or less may need to be fingerprinted if they can’t show these documents.
Route 3 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Routes 1 or 2.
EEA nationals who’ve been resident in the UK for 5 years or less can’t use Route 3.
For Route 3, the applicant must be able to show:
a birth certificate issued after the time of birth (UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
one document from Group 2a
3 further documents from Group 2a or 2b
At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address. If the applicant can’t provide these documents they may need to be fingerprinted.
Group 1: Primary identity documents
Passport Any current and valid passport
Biometric residence permit UK
Current driving licence photocard – (full or provisional) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and EEA. From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by DVLA
Birth certificate – issued within 12 months of birth UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands – including those issued by UK authorities overseas, for example embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces
Adoption certificate UK and Channel Islands
Group 2a: Trusted government documents
Current driving licence photocard – (full or provisional) All countries outside the EEA (excluding Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
Current driving licence (full or provisional) – paper version (if issued before 1998) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and EEA
Birth certificate – issued after time of birth UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
Marriage/civil partnership certificate UK and Channel Islands
Immigration document, visa or work permit Issued by a country outside the EEA. Valid only for roles whereby the applicant is living and working outside of the UK. Visa/permit must relate to the non EEA country in which the role is based
HM Forces ID card UK
Firearms licence UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man
All driving licences must be valid.
Group 2b: Financial and social history documents
Document Notes Issue date and validity
Mortgage statement UK or EEA Issued in last 12 months
Bank or building society statement UK and Channel Islands or EEA Issued in last 3 months
Bank or building society statement Countries outside the EEA Issued in last 3 months – branch must be in the country where the applicant lives and works
Bank or building society account opening confirmation letter UK Issued in last 3 months
Credit card statement UK or EEA Issued in last 3 months
Financial statement, for example pension or endowment UK Issued in last 12 months
P45 or P60 statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Council Tax statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Letter of sponsorship from future employment provider Non-UK or non-EEA only – valid only for applicants residing outside of the UK at time of application Must still be valid
Utility bill UK – not mobile telephone bill Issued in last 3 months
Benefit statement, for example Child Benefit, Pension UK Issued in last 3 months
Central or local government, government agency, or local council document giving entitlement, for example from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Service, HMRC UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 3 months
EEA National ID card Must still be valid
Irish Passport Card Cannot be used with an Irish passport Must still be valid
Cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands Must still be valid
Letter from head teacher or college principal UK – for 16 to 19 year olds in full time education – only used in exceptional circumstances if other documents cannot be provided Must still be valid