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Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The work carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service helps to prevent unsuitable people from getting jobs around the vulnerable (e.g. children).

This guide explains how basic DBS checks work, how to apply, the cost, and what information is contained on a basic certificate.

When is a Basic DBS Check a Requirement?

Anyone who needs to produce a criminal background check can make a voluntary request for a basic DBS check by themselves.

But, employers can also ask potential employees to get DBS checked (e.g. when taking on staff for the first time).

Even though certain job roles require a higher level of criminal record check, you can use the results for almost any position or purpose.

Note: Another section explains the process of checking for a management role to see what type of check you can request for staff you are managing.

Applying for Basic DBS Checks

The DBS disclosure team captures details about individuals before processing, and issuing, certificates. Doing so helps employers make safer decisions when recruiting workers for their organisation.

A Responsible Organisation (RO) can submit a basic DBS check for employers (with the consent of the employee) or on behalf of the individuals themselves.

You can also request a basic DBS check online if you prefer to apply directly. Basic checks cost £18 (includes any volunteer applications) and you can use a debit or credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.

If you ask someone to get a criminal record check, they must be at least sixteen (16) years old. The information contained on each of the four levels is different:

  1. Basic check
  2. Standard check
  3. Enhanced check
  4. Enhanced check with barred list

Important: The main section contains more advice and information about recruitment rules and regulations in the United Kingdom.

Making Payments for DBS Checks

You will be able to make the payment in full during the online application process if you are paying for your own check.

The system also gives you an option to ‘pay later’ by sending a payment link to your email address if someone else will be making the payment (e.g. an employer, a relative).

Note: You should allow fourteen (14) days for a basic DBS check. Failing to complete the payment within ten (10) days means they will not process the application.

What Details Do DBS Checks Show?

According to legislation in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974, the information disclosed in a search will show any ‘unspent’ convictions and conditional cautions.

In simple terms, the laws aim to give most individuals with convictions or cautions a chance to have their slate ‘wiped clean’ (e.g. removed).

The ‘rehabilitation period’ is the minimum period of time when they may become ‘spent’. You can view a table of rehabilitation periods for common sentences and disposals on the GOV.UK website with example scenarios (e.g. multiple sentences given simultaneously).

Getting the Results from Basic Checks

Applying online means you may get your DBS basic check results faster. You would need to provide your mobile telephone number so they can send a text that contains a security code.

The facility would allow you to view (and share) the results online – providing it does not feature any information about convictions.

Registering with DBS Online

You will get an opportunity to create a DBS online account after applying for a basic check. Thus, individuals can manage certain products and services, such as being able to:

  • Contact the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) via webchat.
  • Send them an enquiry.
  • View your own basic certificate online (and give consent to third parties to view it).
  • Withdraw an application for a basic check.

Withdrawing a Basic DBS Check Application

After logging into your account you will be able to make a request to withdraw your application (unless they are ready to issue the certificate). You can also contact DBS directly:

Disclosure and Barring Service
Telephone: 03000 200 190

PO Box 3963
Royal Wootton Bassett

How to Dispute a Basic DBS Check?

The most important government departments and organisations that the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) works with, include (among others):

  • ACRO Criminal Records Office (provides information and improves the exchange of biometric information and criminal records).
  • Police forces in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man (for information stored on the Police National Computer).
  • Responsible Organisations (RO) registered with the DBS to submit basic checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously called CRB checks).

In some cases, you can dispute the information that has been disclosed on your basic DBS certificate, if it shows incorrect (any):

  • Personal information (e.g. your name, place of birth).
  • Details or information about any convictions (e.g. they do not belong to you).

Important: The DBS Update Service is not available for individuals or organisations that are using basic DBS checks.

Related Help Guides

Note: This short video presented by the Disclosure and Barring Service contains a brief summary of the work they do and how they produce standard and enhanced certificates.

Guidance about the Basic DBS Check in the United Kingdom