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Criminal Records Check for a Role

Criminal Records Check for a Role or Job

This section explains the process of criminal records check if you apply for a certain type of job role. Find out who can check your criminal record and how to complete an application.

Who can Check a Criminal Record in UK?

If you apply for certain work roles they may need to check your criminal record. Typical examples would include working in healthcare or working with children.

The official title for this type of probe into criminal records is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

Even so, you must be applying for one of the listed job roles. The law does not allow anyone else to check your criminal record.

You can use an online facility to find out which job roles a prospective employer can check your criminal record for.

Note: Different rules apply for getting this type of disclosure in Scotland or criminal record checks in Northern Ireland.

Types of Criminal Background Check

Depending on the job role, your employer can request three different types of criminal records check:

How to Check Your Own Record

In some cases, your records cannot get checked by another person (your employer). If not, you can request a copy of your criminal record yourself. The cost is £25. You would then be able to show the results to the person you would be working for.

Restrictions for Self-employed Workers

Anyone who is self employed will be unable to apply for any of the three types of criminal records checks. But, you can either:

Note: Anyone working as a childminder can get a check carried out through 'Ofsted DBS Application'.

If You Lived Abroad

A criminal records check for a role will not cover any time spent living outside the United Kingdom. Thus, the person or the organisation requesting the check:

Criminal Records Check Application Process

If your employer requests a check they will begin the application process. They will ask you to fill in a paper form or complete the online version. You will need to fill it in and then submit the online application or return the paper format to your employer.

You may need extra space to write on the paper form. If so, you can download a continuation sheet for additional information on a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) application form. You must also supply certain documents to prove identity as part of the background check.

How Long to Process a DBS Check?

The Disclosure and Barring Service tracking service allows you to track an application online. But, the processing times will vary depending on:

Checking the Certificate is Genuine

There are several ways to confirm a DBS certificate is valid and genuine. All certificates display certain security features proving their authenticity, including:

Note: DBS checks only show convictions on the date they get checked. But, you can join the DBS update service if you need to ensure the check stays up-to-date.

Lost DBS Certificate

DBS customer services do not provide replacements for any damaged or lost certificates. Thus, your employer would need to start the whole application process again if someone loses it.

How to Contact the Disclosure and Barring Service

The DBS helpline will help answer any questions about criminal record checks for a role. You must include your full name, address, and telephone number if you send them an email enquiry. Remember to add any DBS reference numbers if you have them.

DBS Customer Services
Email: customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 0200 190
Welsh: 0300 0200 191
Minicom: 0300 0200 192
International: +44 151 676 9390
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
(9am to 5pm for appeals and disputes)
Saturday: 10am to 5pm
DBS Customer Services
PO Box 3961
Royal Wootton Bassett
SN4 4HF

DBS Process for Transgender Applicants

The DBS service also handle any 'sensitive applications' from a transgender applicant. Contact them if you prefer not to reveal details of a previous identity to a potential employer.

DBS Sensitive Applications Team
Telephone: 0151 676 1452
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
Information on phone call charges.
Criminal Records Check for a Role in the United Kingdom