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What is a DBS Check? Learn How to Get a DBS Check

how to get a DBS check, When you are about to join your dream job, your employer might require a bit more than just an application from you.

There are a lot of roles that require a regulated work environment. To ensure a safe and sound environment, it is imperative that the people working there are checked and verified.

For workplaces like hospitals and childcares, employees must be deemed fit to even start working there. That’s where the Disclosure and Barring Service check comes in!

A DBS check shows the record of a person to its potential employers. Not only does it help the employer to understand whether you’re fit for the position, but also it’s a legal obligation for many jobs.

But, are you wondering what a DBS check is? No worries, this piece of writing will cover everything you need to know about Disclosure and Barring Service check. It will also inform you of all the processes of a DBS checking.

So, read along to get a clear idea on DBS check and how to get it.


Table of Contents

What is a DBS Check?

The DBS check is an official check on the records of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions. DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This body works with the police to gather records on an individual. The Disclosure and Barring Service is responsible to carry out a DBS check.

A DBS check is needed for various purposes. But in general, DBS checks are mostly issued by employers. A lot of employers will require a Disclosure and Barring Service check on when you apply for certain jobs – especially those regarding children and vulnerable adults. For instance, if you are applying for a teaching or healthcare profession, it is most likely that you will have to undergo a DBS check. 

The DBS check ascertains the employers of the candidates’ suitability for a particular job based on their previous records.

However, the purpose of the Disclosure and Barring Service check is not limited only to jobs. It can be issued for other reasonable purposes too. For example, you will need to perform a DBS check on yourself if you are going to adopt or foster a child.

DBS Check

What is a CRB Check?

A lot of people get confused over the terminology CRB check when coming to think about DBS check. CRB stood for Criminal Records Bureau, which was later replaced by Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in 2012. In fact, the CRB check used to be the same as what DBS is now.

Their functions remain almost the same. It’s just the name that’s been altered.

What are the Types of DBS Checks?

There are three basic levels of DBS checks. Each one of these levels is suitable for different sorts of roles. Depending on the role you apply for, your employer will require of any of these DBS checks on you.

  • 1. Basic Disclosure
  • 2. Standard DBS Check
  • 3. Enhanced DBS Check
  • 4. Enhanced with Barred List
Types of DBS Check

1. Basic Disclosure

This is the only level you, as an individual, can obtain for yourself. This package can be issued for any reason.

The basic disclosure package consists of basic criminal records on an individual, covering unspent and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. An organization can also access this type of DBS check on behalf of its employees.

2. Standard DBS Check

Only organizations can access this level of DBS check on behalf of their employees. A standard DBS check cannot be applied for by an individual for personal use. It covers all of the above mentioned checks along with any relevant information from the police.

3. Enhanced DBS Check (with Barred List)

This DBS check is also applicable for organizations only. Individuals are not allowed to request an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check for themselves. This level performs a thorough check on the records of a person, along with a check on DBS barred list (if you require a list).

Let’s say the police think there is additional information about the individual that the employer needs to know, they include that too in the enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.

If you are applying for a position that involves work within a regulated activity site where you may need to attend to children or vulnerable adults, your employer may require an Enhanced DBS Check.

Whenever a checked person appears on the barred list, he or she will be prohibited from being offered any job in regulated areas like mentioned.

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Does every kind of job need a DBS check?

Not every kind of job should require a DBS check on the applicant. The check, in fact, is especially purposed to be used for sensitive roles. Roles that must require a DBS check on the applicants are generally – 

These are sensitive roles that require people with high moral and clean records. Thus, they are almost always asked for DBS checks. Also, other people working in similar settings such as schools, hospitals, children homes, nurseries are also required to undergo a DBS check.

Apart from the mentioned roles, some other professions may also ask Disclosure and Barring Service checks depending on the employer’s requirements. For instance, professions like a barrister, accountants, solicitors, vets etc may also require a DBS check when you join for the first time.

How to Apply for a DBS Check?

Apart from the basic DBS check for personal purpose, all other DBS checks are issued by organizations or employers. In such cases, if you are an applicant, you cannot apply for your own DBS check.

The organization or employer you are applying to has to carry out the application for a DBS check on your behalf.

The regular process for applying a Disclosure and Barring Service check is as follows –

If you are willing to get a personal standard DBS check, you can do it yourself without any organization or employer. 

However, when applying for a job, the employer will still need to complete their own DBS checks, because the standard Disclosure and Barring Service check only shows the unspent convictions. Whereas, your employer may need to perform a more thorough check on you.

How long will a DBS Check take?

A DBS check is generally expected to show you the results in starting from one week to about eight weeks. However, the procedure time of the dispatch depends on a few factors such as –

If every part of the process goes smooth, you can expect the earliest arrival of the results on your DBS check.

Does the DBS Check Result Expire?

Fortunately, NO. The DBS check result officially never expires. You can use the certificate for as long as it is accepted by the employer. It is up to an employer to decide whether a DBS check made on a certain date should be deemed valid for that company.

If your last DBS check was made many years ago, your employer might require a new DBS check.

Otherwise, if not a totally new DBS check, both the employer and the applicant can avail the DBS update service to perform any additional checks on the existing certificate.

How much will a DBS check cost?

The cost of a DBS check depends on the level the check is being issued on. Different levels have different costs. The cost for Disclosure and Barring Service check was reduced in October, 2019.

According to the new price structure –

  1. 1. The basic DBS check can be issued by paying only £23.00.
  2. 2. The cost for standard DBS check is also £23.00, however, as mentioned before, it’s only accessible by organizations.
  3. 3. The cost for enhanced DBS check is £40.00. 
  4. 4. The cost for enhanced DBS check with barred list is also £40.00.

Who pays for the DBS check?

If you are applying for the basic disclosure DBS check for your individual purpose, and not for the employer, then obviously it’s you who will have to pay.

In cases of DBS checks regarding an employment, the payment can be made either by the employer or the applicant himself or herself.

But, in most instances, the employer is most likely to pay for the expense since it’s them who are requiring the DBS check. If you are the applicant, it’s probable that you won’t have to pay for the check. However, it’s better if you discuss it out with your employer before applying to stay certain.

How old do you need to be for a DBS check?

You don’t even need to be an adult to apply for a DBS check! If you are at least 16 years old, you are good to go for a DBS check. Younger than 16 years old? Well, it’s probable that you won’t even need a DBS check in the first place.

Can you appeal against a DBS check?

Is it possible to make an appeal against an already performed DBS check? The answer is, yes!

Although a DBS check is processed with adequate care, there may still be some error in the results. This may occur due to mistakes from either of the sides – the applier or the authority.

If you find out that your DBS check result isn’t accurate, you can make an appeal right off to fix it.

Whether the mistake is in the criminal records, or the personal details you provided them with are incorrect – you will have to report the mistakes within three months after you receive your DBS check certificate.

Either you or your employer can make the appeal, that definitely after speaking to you. After that, the authority will carry on the remaining process.

Why should you avoid free background checks?

Many people tend to look about for free background checks instead of a verified DBS check. While there are a lot of places or companies that may offer such enticing services where they are going to provide a free background check, it is recommended that you do not take their services.

There are a few reasons you should not do free background checks for –

1. Limited Sources of Information

The sites or places that offer free background checks have very limited sources of information to even start with. These sites can access only the public records. While this may be useful to some extent, its quality cannot be compared to that of a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Moreover, these free sites only gather digitally available information, which cannot be compared to physically attained information by any way. On the other hand, DBS check covers all the records.

2. Legal Responsibilities

The purpose of DBS check is to provide verified sets of information to the employer so that they can ensure regulated activity in their workplaces. Since, DBS works with the government and police, it provides all the necessary records on a person. And then it is safe to say that the work environment is safe.

On the other hand, the free background-checking sites are unreliable, and cannot be trusted completely. An employer cannot be completely sure of the authenticity of the information provided by free background check services.

3. Accountability

A background check can be debated over if the information is mistaken somewhere. A DBS check gives you the chance to appeal against it if you think your records are mistaken.

However, a free background check service wouldn’t have that accountability on itself. They are not registered with the government, thus they do not have any credibility over the information they provide.

Concluding remarks

Getting a DBS check is easy if you know how the whole process works. By now, you already have all the necessary knowledge needed to apply for a DBS check. Apply through your organization, receive the form, provide the correct information, send the form back.

Now all you need to do is wait for the certificate. As easy as that!

We wish you all the best of luck with your efforts.

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November 3, 2021

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