Common DBS Check Questions

1. What Does DBS Stand For?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. This is a relatively new organisation which was formed as a result of a merger between the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority).

CRB check agency now carries out a DBS check, formerly known as a CRB check.

2. What is a DBS Certificate

The DBS application is a criminal record check carried out on a person. The DBS online application can be completed by an employer, representative or by the individual him/herself.

There are varying levels of disclosure, that individuals who apply for DBS checks online can select, depending on the business they are entering.

  • Basic DBS Check – only including disclosure of unspent convictions. Basic disclosure is given to anyone not working with children, adults at risk or performing a role that requires a disclosure for an individual.
  • Standard DBS Check – includes disclosure of unspent convictions, reprimands, cautions and warnings. A Standard DBS certificate is awarded to individuals who are entering a profession as specified in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and are working with children or at-risk individuals.
  • Enhanced DBS Check – includes full disclosure of spent and unspent convictions, reprimands, cautions and warnings as well as any other relevant information. DBS Enhanced Disclosure is required for anyone involved in the regular care for, training and supervision of children or vulnerable adults.

We have extensive content on processing checks for varying professions, including DBS checks for volunteerscare workersthe unemployed (among others) and procedures for employers carrying them out. Please refer to the applicable sections for more information.

3. How Long does a DBS Check Take?

It’s common you will receive a copy of your DBS check within 5-10 working days, however, there are some possible factors which may cause delays in your application. There are thousands of applications that are processed every year in various industries, each with their own recruitment processes and guidelines to adhere to.

It might seem ambiguous to applicants as to what goes on in the Enhanced DBS check processing time, as with Standard and Basic checks, and can lead to frustration and uncertainty.

Hopefully, this small process breakdown will clarify any questions and ease any concerns:

  1. The employer saves the application and approves it, then passes it on to the team at
  2. We countersign the application
  3. The application is queued to be transferred through to the DBS, which takes place between two and three times per day, depending on the check
  4. The application is received and validated by the DBS
  5. The application is sent to a database used by law enforcement organisations nationwide, commonly known as the PNC (Police National Computer)
  6. Checks will be carried out on various barred lists to see if the applicant appears, as well as the List 99 register
  7. The application remains with the police, which is where the ambiguity of timescales mainly lies. Various factors can cause delays here, such as failure to disclose certain convictions, incorrect addresses or other necessary information that would require validation from another organisation. As well as this, some police forces do have a backlog of applications to work through, which only adds to the delays
  8. The application is fully signed off, printed and sent to the applicant

We do understand that it can feel like a frustrating process waiting for a DBS check to come through, however, we are committed to providing a swift, efficient service to ensure timely process and delivery. We have a DBS check tracking service where you can keep a watchful eye over your application. All you will need is the form reference, and the date of birth of the applicant.

4. What Does a DBS Check Show?

The amount of information shown depends on the level of check. The details of unspent convictions will be listed regardless of application, but there is a gray area when it comes to disclosing cautions, and certain convictions.

Certain cautions and convictions are protected so as they don’t show up on DBS disclosures, those that are eligible for filtering are removed from DBS check documents once the application is made.

Employers are not allowed to take older convictions and cautions into account, nor those that are less serious, when deciding the eligibility of a prospective employee or volunteer for a role.

Filtering periods:

  • Under 18s – 2.5 years for reprimands, 5.5 years for convictions
  • Over 18s – 6 years for cautions, 11 years for convictions

Some offences that can be filtered include:

  • Theft without violence
  • Vehicular offences (subject to severity)
  • Drunk and disorderly

However, the following are not exempt from filtering:

  • Any safeguarding offence
  • Sexual or violent offences
  • Drug offences where intent to supply

You can see the full list of offences that won’t be filtered here.

5. What Documents do I Need for a DBS Check?

Documents needed for DBS certificates vary, depending on the type of online DBS application that’s being carried out. But some of the requirements regardless of disclosure include:

  • Full address history of the last five years, with a current address based in the UK.
  • Legal name and surname changes, including dates.
  • Valid proof of identification.
  • Valid proof of addresses.

Additional documents may be required for a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate and may require validation.

6. How Much is a DBS Check

  • Basic DBS checks cost £35.40
  • Standard DBS checks cost £49.20
  • Enhanced DBS checks cost £69.80

All prices are per individual application.

7. How Can We Help?

We are dedicated to providing a quick and efficient service for businesses and organisations to vet prospective employees. We have simplified our online application process for individuals, and a DBS check can be completed in as little as few minutes.

All of our checks can be carried out online, thereby simplifying the process of submission and delivery. We aim to ensure every application is processed in a timely manner, and with the utmost professionalism. Whether you are an individual or an employer, you can rely on us to make this process as hassle-free and consistent as possible.

Please refer to our FAQs for answers to questions that aren’t listed in this article.

Should you have any further queries, please reach out to the team today.

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