UK Disclosure and Barring service DBS checks

We specialise in UK DBS checks

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check is an examination of an individual’s criminal convictions and cautions performed by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

There are 4 levels of checks that can be done and the nature of the job applied for will determine the level of check carried out.

These are particularly important when people will be working with children or vulnerable adults.
Note that a DBS check only covers criminal records checks for England and Wales. Disclosure Scotland handles the equivalent service North of the border.

Who needs a DBS check?

Typically, employers will ask for a DBS check as part of their employee background check where people are working or volunteering in important positions or where they are working with children or vulnerable people.
Any employer can ask that a basic check is carried out but for many jobs, it is unlikely to be needed.
However, there are roles where some form of DBS employer check is mandatory such as teaching, healthcare or security.
Some organisations require that a DBS check is provided as a condition of membership, for example, accountants applying to the CIMA Members In Practice scheme.
Employers might ask for a DBS check when staff are working with money, like in a bank or where they are in positions of particular responsibility.
It’s important to note that the position doesn’t have to be paid. So volunteers working for no pay in a hospital or care home will still need to have a DBS check carried out.


Who can ask for a DBS check?

Job applicants can request a basic disclosure on themselves but only employers and licensing bodies can request a higher level DBS check.
Charities are also able to request DBS checks, especially where people will be working closely with service users or will be in a position of authority.
Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on a potential employee’s certificate.


How far back does a DBS check go?

Theoretically, the DBS check can show any convictions that a person has received but due to the ‘filtering rules’ some convictions may not be shown. From November 2020 the DBS won’t always disclose youth reprimands, youth warnings, or youth cautions. In the past, individuals that have a single spent conviction would have a clean certificate. Now the number of convictions are matched against the rules and in some cases the role being sought and may not be shown.


How much does a DBS check cost?

The fee levied by the DBS per application is £23. We will apply a small admin fee for processing your application onto the DBS platform.
An enhanced check fee levied by the DBS is £45.
DBS checks for charities attract no fee from the Disclosure and Barring Service but as above, we will apply a small admin fee for processing your applications.

How long does a DBS check take?

The time taken for a DBS check varies depending upon the level of check and the time of year as the service is subject to seasonal variations.

The fastest results come through for applicants who have only ever had one name and the same address for a long time.

The more name and address changes you have had, the longer the check takes.

A basic or standard DBS check will take on average 24-48 hours although these times have extended during the pandemic.

In our experience, an enhanced check, due to the more involved nature of the information gathered takes 24 hours to 7 days.

The most comprehensive check, the enhanced DBS with list can take around 8 weeks to complete although this time is very much dependent upon a large number of factors and so you need to be aware that it could take longer.

If you need to get a DBS check completed quickly then call us and we will help.

How long does a DBS check last?

Officially there is no expiry date on a DBS certificate but this leaves employers with a problem.

The DBS check only shows convictions up to the date it was produced, so if an employee is convicted after that date then it naturally will not be included.

This means that every employer needs to decide how often it requires ‘refresher’ checks to be done so that the gap between now and the last certificate is closed.

Each organisation needs to assess the risk for a particular position and decide what frequency of rechecking is appropriate. For lower-risk roles, many employers choose to check every two or three years. Very high-risk positions may require checking every six months.

If you work in a regulated environment like healthcare, residential care, teaching or security then your trade or professional body may have a specific frequency that they require you to use when updating DBS certificates.

If you would like specific advice as to the appropriate frequency for DBS checks in your particular sector then call us now and we will help

What are the 4 types of DBS checks?

There are four types of DBS checks available.

The employer or organisation running the check should establish the level of check required by considering the applicant’s job role and the people they will come into contact with, for example, children or vulnerable adults.

DBS check applicants must be 16 or over.

The types of DBS checks are:

Basic DBS

This is the only type of DBS check you can perform on yourself.

This gives the least amount of detail of the 3 different DBS checks.

Anyone can pay for this report and it only details your unspent criminal record. By “spent” we mean criminal offences that are no longer viewable. You can find out more about spent offences and filtering here.

While serious offences never get spent, minor offences that happened when people were young can disappear from reports like this within a few years

Standard DBS

People working in financial services, the courts, or other roles of responsibility typically need to get this check done. Needless to say, this is a more detailed check than the basic DBS.

The standard DBS check will look at spent as well as unspent convictions as long as they are not filtered out and will include any reprimands or cautions on the central Police National Computer.

Enhanced DBS

An Enhanced DBS check is the most detailed DBS check and includes all relevant convictions and cautions on the police systems as well as any locally held police intelligence.

It makes sense that people working in the most sensitive jobs undergo the most rigorous checks and so the enhanced DBS check is suitable for people working with children or vulnerable adults, employees in the gambling industry or when applying for a taxi licence.

It comes as a surprise to many people that intelligence about people isn’t always held at a national level. Somebody who had been in the frame for multiple robberies but who was never convicted due to a lack of evidence might have this information held by a local force and this would be included if they were applying for a job as a locksmith.

The important point is that the intelligence needs to be relevant to the role applied for.

Enhanced DBS with List

An Enhanced DBS with list shows the same as an Enhanced DBS check, and will also include a check of the Disclosure and Barring Service’s children and adults barred lists – as the name implies this is the list of individuals barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.

This check is only allowed where the position the applicant is applying for involves engaging in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults.

This check takes the longest to perform given that it is the most detailed and as with all check apart from the basic, this can only be applied for by an authorised organisation.

Need help?

If you are an employer, remember that you can always ask us to help with your hiring process including obtaining a DBS check for your potential hires – just fill in the Request A Callback form at the top of this page or call us on 0144281 6333 and one of our expert staff will be delighted to help you.

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