C3.1 Disclosure and Barring Service
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions each year by processing and issuing DBS checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. DBS also maintains the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists and makes considered decisions as to whether an individual should be included on one or both of these lists and barred from engaging in Regulated Activity.
What are DBS checks
There are 4 types of DBS checks (previously known as CRB, or criminal record checks) and each type results in a DBS certificate being issued to an individual. Employers can then ask to see the certificate to ensure that they are recruiting suitable people into their organisation. The information included on each type of check is different, so the type of check required is important to get the right type of information for the role the individual has applied for.
1. Basic DBS check
A Basic DBS check is for any purpose, including employment. The certificate will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.
An individual can apply for a Basic check directly to DBS through an online application route, or an employer can apply for a basic check on an individual’s behalf, through a Responsible Organisation, if they have consent.
2. Standard DBS check
A Standard DBS check is suitable for certain roles. The certificate will contain details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer, which are not subject to filtering.
An individual cannot apply for a standard check by themselves. There must be a recruiting organisation who needs the applicant to get the check. This is then sent to DBS through a Registered Body.
The service is free for volunteers.
3. Enhanced DBS check
An Enhanced DBS check is suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care. An Enhanced DBS check is also suitable for a small number of other roles such as taxi licence applications or people working in the Gambling Commission.
The certificate will contain the same details as a standard certificate and, if the role is eligible, an employer can request that one or both of the DBS Barred Lists are checked.
The certificate may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is deemed relevant and ought to be contained in the certificate.
An individual cannot apply for an Enhanced DBS check by themselves. There must be a recruiting organisation who needs the applicant to get the check. This is then sent to DBS through a Registered Body.
The service is free for volunteers.
4. Enhanced with Barred List(s) DBS check
An Enhanced with Barred Lists DBS check is also suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care.
An Enhanced with Barred Lists certificate will contain the same information as an Enhanced DBS certificate, but will also include a check of one or both Barred Lists.
Eligibility for Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced with Barred Lists DBS checks is prescribed in legislation. Recruiters should only request a DBS check on an individual when they are legally allowed to do so – they must be entitled by law to ask an individual to reveal their full criminal history. This is known as asking ‘an exempted question.’
An exempted question applies when the individual will be working in specific occupations, for certain licences and specified positions. These are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.
The minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a criminal record check is 16 years old.
The DBS eligibility tool can be used to determine what type of check a role could be eligible for, as can our eligibility guidance.
An Enhanced with Barred Lists DBS check will include a check of one or both of the Barred Lists that DBS manages and maintains (adults and children). If an individual is listed, this will appear on their DBS certificate.
It is our responsibility at DBS to maintain these lists. This area of our work involves making fair, consistent, and thorough decisions that are appropriate to the behaviour that has occurred and consider the risk of future harm.
The Update Service is an online subscription, for Standard, Enhanced and Enhanced with Barred Lists DBS checks, that allows applicants to keep their DBS certificates up-to-date and allows employers to view an applicant’s certificate.
The Update Service cannot currently be used for Basic DBS checks.