DBS Frequently Asked Questions
Provided below is a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ) and their answers. If your question does not appear below, please contact us and a member of our team will be able to assist you.
What Does DBS Stand For?
DBS is short for ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’. This is an agency part of the UK Home Office which carries out specific checks on individuals.
What is a DBS Check?
A Disclosure and Barring Service check (or DBS check for short) is the term used for the analysis and record of a person’s past, looking specifically at any convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings they may have received.
In some instances, the DBS run checks against the adult and children’s barred list, depending on the role of an individual or the job for which they are applying.
DBS checks, also known as disclosures, may also include soft intelligence held by the police. This information is not always contained within the Police National Computer (PNC). For example, a person may not have been convicted of a particular offense, but a local police force may have intelligence which should be disclosed as it may affect the suitability of a person for a particular job.
What is the Difference Between a CRB and a DBS Check?
There is no difference between a CRB and DBS check.
After the publication of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 many changes were brought about. One of which was the coming together and merge of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), under the new title of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
The new entity took on the responsibilities of the previous fractions and continued to complete the checks and functions, apart from the discontinued ISA Registration Scheme.
Therefore, in its simplest of terms, this was a rebranding of the organisation.
What if my Disclosure Certificate Was Completed by the CRB, not the DBS?
This does not necessarily mean a new DBS check is required. The requirement for DBS check may be dictated by your employer or regulator. Simply because your certificate shows the CBS logo rather the DBS logo does not necessarily make this out of date.
Are There Different Types of Criminal Checks?
Yes. There are three levels of disclosure. The level you require will depend on the job and the contact of care you will provide. These levels of disclosure are:
Basic level disclosure – this is a non-specific check that is available to anyone who requires certification. Basically, it is available to anyone for any purpose. It is commonly used for personal licence holders, couriers or similar. Disclosure Scotland produce this level of Disclosure, as well as the DBS from June 2017.
Standard level disclosure – this level of disclosure is subject to eligibility in accordance to legislative criteria. This more in-depth check is often required for careers such as accountants or solicitors.
Enhanced level disclosure – this detailed check is also subject to eligibility in accordance to legislative criteria. Individuals who wish to work with vulnerable people will require this disclosure.
Enhanced level disclosure and barred list check – the most comprehensive of all disclosure checks, this disclosure will also look at the barred lists. This is necessary for an individual intending on working in a ‘regulated position’ where they have a duty of care and responsibility for vulnerable people.
Please be advised that standard and enhanced DBS checks are not available to all. This service can only be accessed if the person’s role is supported by legislation. For example, an employer must consider whether they are allowed by law to access this level of criminal information for a particular role.
How Are Barred Lists Accessed?
If you require an enhanced level disclosure and barred list check, access must be requested in line with legislation in accordance to the individual’s role.
The barred list can only be accessed when undertaking an enhanced level DBS check. The barred lists cannot be accessed when undertaking a standard level DBS check.
There are three barring lists that are checked:
• Adult’s Barred List
• Children’s Barred List
• List 99 (section 142 Education Act 2002)
Adult’s Barred List – this checks if an applicant has been barred from working with vulnerable adults. This can only be looked at if the applicant will be partaking in certain roles, such as providing adult care or healthcare services.
Children’s Barred List and List 99 (Section 142 Education Act 2002) – These lists are checked if the applicant has been barred from working with children and young people. Like with the Adult’s Barring List, this can only be accessed in reference to a specific job role, such as teaching or the provision of childcare.
The responsibility of ensuring the correct level of disclosure lies with the employer. It is imperative these lists are only accessed in line with the law. An employer should not request access to these lists unless they are legally entitled to do so.
What is the Definition of a Vulnerable Adult?
‘Vulnerable adult’ is a complex term. It was once used to describe a person who is vulnerable due to their age or a disability. However, this was deemed inappropriate. Working with a ‘vulnerable adult’ now refers to any of the following services you provide to a person aged 18 or over:
• Healthcare: if you are a regulated health care professional or are acting under the direction or supervision of one, for example doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and physiotherapists.
• Personal care: assistance with washing and dressing, eating, drinking and toileting or teaching someone to do one of those tasks.
• Social work: provision of social work which is required in connection with any health services or social services.
• Assistance with a person’s cash, bills or shopping because of their age, illness or disability.
• Assistance with the conduct of an adult’s own affairs, for example, lasting or enduring powers of attorney, or deputies appointed under the Mental Health Act.
• Conveying: conveying adults for reasons of age, illness or disability to, from or between places where they receive healthcare, personal care or social work. This would not include friends or family or taxi drivers.
What is the Definition of a Child?
A child is an individual under the age of 18 years old, as per Section 60 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
How Long Does a Disclosure Certificate Last?
Criminal disclosure certificates do not have expiry dates, they display only an issue date. There is no set period for which they are valid.
Some employers believe it is best practice to update their DBS check every 3 years, however this is not the law. In some instances, organisations may be dictated to by potential clients or a regulator, in which case a new DBS check will be required. However, in general terms, there are no expiry dates to DBS checks.
Is a Criminal Check Portable? Can it be Reused?
As previously outlined, there is no validity period on criminal disclosure certificates, so in most instances they can be reused at the discretion of the employer or organisation.
An employer should check that all certificates are the correct level, for the correct workforce and that barred list checks were carried out if necessary.
Although a separate disclosure per employer is not necessary, it is recommended that applicants subscribe to the DBS Update Service to ensure their disclosure is up-to-date at all times. Not doing this may result in complications when attempting to reuse a certificate.
What is the Update Service?
The Update Service is a DBS scheme which registers a disclosure certificate and ensures it is kept up-to-date. An annual subscription to the DBS Update Service may mean an individual will never need another DBS check again.
The individual is responsible for this when submitting an application to the DBS. However, if you use our services, we will undertake the registration and complete the management for you. Our system will then automatically alert you via email if any changes are required in the future.
Who Can Request a DBS Check?
Organisations can request for individuals to be checked if they will be working or volunteering in a position that is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This is valid for current staff, job applicants and volunteers.
Can Individuals Obtain a DBS Check on Themselves?
No. Individuals cannot request a personal DBS check. DBS checks were designed to aid organisations make recruitment decisions, therefore only an employer or recruitment company may apply.
Here at Apostille firm we can, however, offer a basic level disclosure. This is because these checks are not job specific and, can be used for any purpose.
Should We Request DBS Checks on Our Staff?
Whether this is a requirement, or not, will depend on your industry. However, it is recommended that all job applicants, staff and volunteers within an organisation are screened in one way or another. This may not always be a DBS check as the law may not support it.
Your organisation may opt to undertake a basic level disclosure only. Alternatively, we can provide a host of additional screening products.
How Long Does a DBS Check Take?
If you decide to request a DBS check using our services, expect a timescale as follows:
• 85% of enhanced disclosures returned within 5 working days
• 95% of standard disclosures returned within 5 working days
• 80% of basic disclosures returned within 10 working days
On rare occasions, an application may exceed 60 days. In the unlikely event this happens, we can escalate the application along as a priority.
Our average across the UK is 5.4 days for an enhanced DBS check, with several thousand being returned in less than 24 hours every month.
Is There a DBS Fast-Track Service Available?
As stated above, disclosures should take around a week to complete. There are no fast track options available.
If an individual is required to start a role immediately a List 99 or Adult First check may be considered.
What Are List 99 checks?
A List 99 check refers to the access of the Department for School Children and Families (formerly DfES) List 99 database, which details names of those who have been barred or restricted from working with children by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, under the terms of the Education (Restriction of Employment) Regulations 2000.
A check of this will also ascertain if a person is barred from teaching in Northern Ireland or has been removed from the Register of Teachers by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. A List 99 check will show if an individual is on the Department of Health Protection of Children Act (1999) list, also known as (POCALS), and has been barred by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.
The results of a List 99 check will take just 24hours to be returned. An email notification will be sent detailing the outcome within hours of the application and therefore is popular among organisations that require an individual to start straight away.
What is a DBS Adult First Check?
The Care Standards Act allows the Department of Health to maintain a list of people who are perceived to be a threat to, and should not work with, vulnerable adults. An Adult First Check refers to this, in particular looking at the health sector.
These checks should only be done in exceptional cases when they are absolute necessary. If this is the case, once requested an email will be issued with one of two responses:
Option 1: Employer must wait for the DBS certificate
Option 2: No match exists for this person on the current Vulnerable Adults Barred List
If Option 1 is received, something may have been found, and further investigations may be required to determine if the person is indeed on the barred list.
A DBS Adult First Check issued through Apostille Firm will take anywhere up to 2 days, however, most requests are completed within 24hours of submission. Please note: Checks are not done on weekends or bank holidays.
Who Receives the DBS Certificate?
Although an organisation requests the disclosure check, the certificate is sent to the applicant’s home address.
Before this is received, you will be sent an online notification stating that the check has been completed and whether any criminal information has been found and held. Our solutions will provide you with a full audit trail and a printable summary of the disclosure check.
What ID Documents Are Required to be Validated for a DBS Check?
ID is required to be validated with every disclosure check, and there are 4 routes in place for doing this. However, we would recommend that Route 1 is taken wherever possible, as this will reduce costs and ensure a timely service.
Who Pays for Disclosure Applications and How is This Done?
In most cases, the organisation requesting the check will pay for the disclosure. However, here at Apostille Firm we can provide an alternative solution whereby we can request payment from the individual directly.
Can I Get a Free DBS Check?
Apostille firm cannot provide DBS checks for free. We will charge an administration fee..
What is the Definition of a Volunteer?
The DBS defines a volunteer in accordance to the Police Act 1997 (criminal records). This states:
‘Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative.’
If this is the case, an individual may qualify for a free-of-charge criminal record check. In order to be granted the person must not benefit from the position that the DBS application is being submitted for. They also cannot:
• Be on work experience
• Receive any payment
• Be on a course that requires participation
• Be a trainee at the organisation
Make sure to tick the designated box of the application if the individual is a volunteer. If not marked correctly the DBS will recover the application fee and the DBS application may be cancelled.
Which Workforce Category Should Be Selected?
When making a DBS application you will be asked to select a workforce. This will dictate what information is relevant to the role and what details should be disclosed.
These workforces are explained below:
Child workforce – for positions in regulated activity with children, which fall under the pre-September 2012 definition of regulated activity in relation to children or for adult household members where a foster child placement takes place.
Adult workforce – for positions in regulated activity with vulnerable adults, which fall under the pre-September 2012 definition of regulated activity in relation to vulnerable adults or for individuals who manage others participating in these roles.
Child and adult workforce – if a role specifically deals with both children and vulnerable adults.
Other workforce – for roles which require a DBS check, but do not deal with children or vulnerable adults. For examples, legal, financial or security services.
What is the Definition of a Healthcare Professional?
The DBS defines a healthcare professional as an individual who is regulated by one of the following professional regulators:
• General Medical Council
• General Dental Council
• General Optical Council
• General Osteopathic Council
• General Chiropractic Council
• General Pharmaceutical Council
• Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland
• Nursing and Midwifery Council
• Health Professions Council
How Do I Get a DBS Check for my Personal Licence?
You will only need a basic level disclosure for a personal licence.
Can Disclosure Certificates be Reprinted by the DBS?
Yes. If you did not receive the original certificate for whatever reason, you can request a reprint from the DBS directly.
To order your reprint, email DBSReprints@dbs.gsi.gov.uk
If the original certificate was received, but you have lost or damaged it, the DBS will not provide a reprint. Reprints from the DBS can only be requested up to 90 days after they were first issued.
How Can I Contact Disclosure Scotland (DS)?
Contacting the DS is easy. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0870 609 6006.
Can an Individual with a Criminal Record be Employed?
Yes. A criminal record does not automatically result in unemployment. A person who has a criminal history would in no way be deemed unsuitable for employment. Nor does a criminal history suggest a person is unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.
A DBS certificate and its contents should be considered on its own merit. There are no fixed rules. If you are required to do a DBS check for the purpose of your employment, your potential employer will consider your history carefully and ensure you are not discriminated against for a historic offence that potentially has no connection to the job you wish to undertake.
An employer or organisation may also decide to complete further checks in order to determine the suitability of the applicant for the job role. At Apostille firm we are able to offer a host of screening products to determine a candidate’s suitability for any role, such as:
• Right to work in UK
• Employment referencing & gap analysis
• Qualification checks
• Media Searches
• Financial Checks
• BPSS Checks
• BS7858 Clearance
• FCA Screening
What is a BPSS Check?
The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) was created to help reduce the risk of illegal workers, identity fraud and overall protect national security. It’s a requirement for civil servants, the armed forces and government contractors. It’s also required before applying for NSV security clearance. It analyses a candidate’s credit report, three-year employment verification; Gap in employment analysis and a basic criminal disclosure. It includes:
• Credit Report
• 3 Year Employment Verification
• Gap in Employment Analysis
• Basic Criminal Disclosure
What is BS7858 Clearance?
BS7858 is the best practice procedure published by the British Standards Institution. It is used by businesses and industries across the UK, and is used to enhance the security and recruitment process. It includes:
• Credit Report & ID Validation
• 5 Year Employment Verification
• Highest Qualification Verification
• 2 Personal Character References
• Right To Work
• Criminal Record Check
• Gap Employment Analysis
What is FCA Screening?
There are many regulated positions, especially in the financial sector, where screening is a mandatory process for recruitment. Screening candidates who require regulatory approval often means a more in-depth level of vetting.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) screening is a detailed look into an individual’s background to ensure an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to carry out the job role they are applying for.
FCA screening is determined through a number of different background checks under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and is part of a strict recruitment procedure for these specific industries. It includes:
• K Electoral roll, UK CCJs, IVAs and Bankruptcies
• Credit Report & ID Validation
• Financial sanctions check against HM Treasury
• UK Directorships and disqualifications
• 5 Year Employment Verification
• Gap Employment Analysis
• Highest Qualification Verification
• 2 Character References
• Criminal Record Check (DBS)
• FCA Register Validation Search
• FCA Disciplinary validation
• Regulated reference (where required)
What is NPPV Vetting?
NPPV vetting covers the vetting of all Police National Contractors and will be conducted at a level appropriate to the requirements of the ACPO National Vetting Policy for the Police Community. Warwickshire Police will carry out all vetting on behalf of police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the system eradicates the need for forces to vet and re-vet individual contractors. It includes:
• Integrity check
• Police National Computer (PNC) check
• Intelligence and Special Branch – for addresses going back five years (residence check) applicant.
• Military checks – if ex-forces
• Professional Standards Department check – (Complaints and Discipline) if ex-police
• Centurion – Complaints database
• Financial check – using Force view (Experian)
• Non-conviction database check
• SC check – via Parasol