As of the 17th June 2013, The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). As a result of this merge, CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
DBS checks are required for certain jobs or voluntary work. For example, someone may need to undergo a DBS check in order to work with children, work in healthcare or to apply to foster or adopt a child.
For people wishing to obtain a criminal record check in Scotland, the application process is different and is administered by Disclosure Scotland. In Northern Ireland, applications are overseen by Access Northern Ireland as part of the Department of Justice (NI).
Who Can Ask for a DBS Check?
Employers aren’t usually allowed to ask job applicants about any previous convictions; however, for jobs that specifically require a DBS check, employers are allowed to enquire about spent convictions.
For more information on which roles require a DBS check, the DBS eligibility guidance lists most roles that are eligible for a check. However, the guidance isn’t comprehensive, and it’s advised that you should contact the DBS if you’re unsure.
Employers provide applicants with a form to complete and return alongside any relevant documents proving your identity.
Who Can Apply For a DBS Check?
Employers can apply for a DBS check on behalf of potential or existing employees. However, individuals can’t apply for a DBS check on themselves and must be over 16 years of age.
A ‘basic disclosure’ is available for people who want to apply for a check on their own, which provides details of any unspent convictions. This can be obtained from Disclosure Scotland and be applied to from any individual anywhere in the UK.
Types of Criminal Records Check
There are 3 types of criminal records check. The employer or organisation requesting the check should provide the applicant with more information about what level of check is required.
- Standard DBS Check
A Standard DBS check costs £26 and details spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. It normally takes about 2 weeks for a standard check to process.
- Enhanced DBS Check
Enhanced checks cost £44 and include all details outlined in a standard check plus any additional information held locally by police forces that is considered relevant to the post applied for.
- Enhanced DBS with list checks
An Enhanced DBS with list checks costs £44 and include all details outlined in an enhanced check plus a check of the appropriate DBS barred lists.
DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge. This includes anyone who spends time helping people and:
- isn’t being paid (apart from travel and other approved out of pocket expenses)
- isn’t only looking after a close relative
An employer can only apply for a check if the job or role specifically requires one. Employers must tell the applicant why they’re being checked and where they can get independent advice.
DBS checks don’t have an official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if a new check is needed.
Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on an existing certificate, for example, for a potential employee.
For more information on DBS checks, visit Gov.uk - https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/overview