Disclosure Services - DBS Checks - CRB Checks - Criminal Record Checks

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Since 2002 Disclosure Services has been processing electronic criminal records checks and assisting a comprehensive range of organisations to make informed recruitment decisions, fulfilling regulatory and compliance requirements, mitigating risk to clients, service users and employees.

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Detailed guide: DBS checks: guidance for employers


Updated: Information updated regarding the security features of a DBS certificate.


An employer may request a criminal records check as part of its recruitment process. These checks are processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

For certain roles the check will also include information held on the DBS children and adults’ barred lists, together with any information held by police forces, that is reasonably considered to be relevant to the applied for post.

These checks are to assist employers in making safer recruitment and licensing decisions. However a check is just one part of robust recruitment practice. When a check has been processed by the DBS and completed, the applicant will receive a DBS certificate (DBS check).

The DBS can’t access criminal records held overseas. A DBS check may not provide a complete view of an applicant’s criminal record if they have lived outside the UK.

Employers should make sure they have access to all the information available to them to make a safer recruitment decision. You can read about how to get a criminal record check for overseas applicants, or those who have previously lived outside the UK, on the Home Office website.

Eligibility to ask ‘an exempted question’

For DBS checking an exempted question is a valid request for a person to reveal their full criminal history. This excludes protected cautions and convictions that will be filtered from a criminal record check.

Access to the DBS checking service is only available to registered employers who are entitled by law to ask an individual to reveal their full criminal history (other than protected cautions and convictions), including spent convictions - also known as asking ‘an exempted question’.

An exempted question applies when the individual will be working in specific occupations, for certain licenses 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.

To find out more information about who is eligible for a criminal record check, read the DBS eligibility guidance.

The code of practice

The code of practice is issued under section 122(2) of the Police Act 1997.

Organisations using the DBS checking service must comply with the code of practice. The code is there to ensure organisations are aware of their obligations that the information released will be used fairly.

The code also ensures that sensitive personal information, disclosed by the DBS is handled and stored appropriately and is kept for only as long as necessary.

Find the code of practice for registered persons and other recipients of DBS check information.

Storing information

The correct storage of information from a DBS certificate is important. The code of practice requires that the information revealed is considered only for the purpose for which it was obtained (it should be destroyed after a suitable period has passed - usually not more than 6 months).

Organisations must use information revealed on DBS certificates fairly. More information on the handling and storage of DBS certificate information is available. They must also satisfy the DBS that they are complying with the code of practice. This means cooperating with requests from the DBS to carry out assurance checks, as well as reporting any suspected malpractice in relation to the code or misuse of DBS certificates.

We can refuse to issue a DBS certificate if we believe that the code of practice is not being followed.

Applicants’ rights

Usually a job applicant has no legal obligation to reveal spent convictions. If an applicant has a conviction that has become spent, the employer must treat the applicant as if the conviction has not happened. A refusal to employ a rehabilitated person on the grounds of a spent conviction is unlawful under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

Certain areas of employment are exempt under the ROA 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, for which employers may ask about spent convictions. This is known as asking an exempted question. When answering, the applicant would have a legal obligation to reveal spent convictions.

The code of practice states that information on a DBS certificate should only be used in the context of a policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders. This is designed to protect applicants from unfair discrimination on the basis of non-relevant past convictions. We have created a specimen policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders to help guide organisations.

The minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a criminal record check is 16 years old.

Transgender process

DBS offers a confidential checking process for transgender applicants.

This process is for transgender applicants who do not wish to reveal details of their previous identity to the person who asked them to complete an application form for a DBS certificate.

For more information about the transgender process email sensitive@dbs.gsi.gov.uk

Self-employed workers

A self-employed person who is eligible for a DBS standard or enhanced check can ask the organisation that wishes to contract their services to apply for their DBS check.

A self-employed person who needs a basic check can apply through the DBS’ online application route if they live or work in England or Wales. They can apply to Disclosure Scotland if they live or work in Scotland.

Registering as an organisation with the DBS

Organisations can either register with DBS if they do more than 99 checks per year, or use an organisation offering umbrella body services to apply for DBS checks.

To satisfy the conditions of registration you must:

  • submit more than 100 eligible DBS check applications per year
  • be entitled to ask exempted questions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
  • comply with the code of practice
  • pay the appropriate fees in relation to applications for DBS checks, as well as registration of the organisation and countersignatories

You must also provide specific and up to date information to the DBS for registration to be granted. This includes:

  • organisation status
  • proposed countersignatories and lead countersignatory
  • the nature of your business
  • the positions of employment you intend to submit the checks for
  • how you intend to meet the threshold of 100 applications per year

Cost of DBS registration

Registration costs £300, with a £5 cost for each countersignatory to be registered.

Your registration fee will be charged after the DBS has assessed your registration documentation, carried out pre-registration checks and invited you to register.

Call our customer services team to request a pre-registration questionnaire and information pack: telephone 03000 200 190.

Using the e-bulk service

If you are registered directly with the DBS, and you submit at least 1,500 applications per year, you may be able to use the e-bulk electronic application system.

Find out more about the e-bulk service.

Changing your registration details

All registered bodies must keep DBS informed about any changes to their registration details.

This includes the following:

  • your organisation no longer wishes to be registered with the DBS
  • your organisation wishes to become, or cease to be, an umbrella body
  • your lead countersignatory is leaving (or has already left) and needs to be replaced by another person
  • a countersignatory(ies) is leaving or no longer performs this role
  • your organisation changes its name and/or address
  • a countersignatory changes their name, signature and/or address
  • the lead countersignatory changes their name, signature and/or address

Failure to keep your registration up to date may result in delays to the service that we provide.

You should inform the DBS in writing, on company letter-headed paper, and provide the following information:

  • registered body number
  • your (lead) countersignatory number and signature
  • details of the change(s) - such as the previous and new name/address of the registered body, the effective date of the change, and the name and registration number(s) of the countersignatories affected

If the lead signatory or a countersignatory is not available, a letter from a director or equivalent can be accepted.

Send your letter to:

DBS Customer Services
PO Box 3961
Royal Wootton Bassett


Countersignatories have an important role in the DBS checking process.

A countersignatory is a person within a registered body who is registered with the DBS to countersign applications, making a declaration that the position is eligible for the DBS check requested, and see the DBS certificate.

Read our guidance to help you complete the countersignatory application form.

A lead countersignatory is a senior figure within a registered body who will oversee the DBS process within their organisation.

Read our guidance to help you complete the lead countersignatory application form.

The minimum age at which someone can apply to become a countersignatory is 18 years old.

Using umbrella body services

An umbrella body is a registered body that gives other non-registered organisations access to DBS checks.

If your organisation has a requirement for fewer than 100 checks per year you should use the services of an umbrella body. Your organisation must also be eligible to ask the exempted question.

If you are already a registered body and would like to offer an additional umbrella service, you should email customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk.

ID validation for DBS checks

When an individual applies for a DBS check their identity must be verified by the registered body.

Registered bodies must follow the DBS 3-route identity checking process to validate the name, date of birth and address provided by the applicant in sections a and b of the application form.

Read the DBS identity checking guidelines for detailed information.

Failure to validate an applicant’s identity

If the applicant’s identity has not been validated by the 3-route process, the countersignatory should mark the ‘no’ box at question w59 on the application form and return the form to the DBS. You may be asked to review this decision by the DBS before the application can proceed, which may delay the overall process.

Applicants who cannot provide the necessary documents will be asked to go for fingerprinting at their local police station. This is likely to cause delay to the overall application process.

Dealing with discrepancies on the application form

If there are any discrepancies between the information on the form and the identity documents supplied, and fraud is not suspected, you should seek clarification from the applicant.

Do not attempt to amend the application form without the applicant’s knowledge and agreement, as it will invalidate the declaration by the applicant in section e of the form and may breach data protection legislation.

If you suspect that you have been presented with a false identity or documents, do not proceed with the application process. You should report suspected identity fraud on the Action Fraud website.

Types of DBS checks

Basic check - £25

The basic check can be used for any position or purpose. A basic certificate will contain details of convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC) that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

Standard check - £26

The standard check is available for duties, positions and licences included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, for example, court officers, employment within a prison, and Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences.

A standard level certificate contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC) which have not been filtered in line with legislation.

Enhanced check - £44

The enhanced check is available for specific duties, positions and licences included in both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975) and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations, for example, regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of children, specified activities with adults in receipt of health care or social care services and applicants for gaming and lottery licences.

An enhanced level certificate contains the same PNC information as the standard level certificate but also includes a check of information held by police forces.

Enhanced with a barred list check - £44

The enhanced check with barred list check(s) is only available for those individuals who are carrying out regulated activity and a small number of positions listed in Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations, for example, prospective adoptive parents and taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licences.

An enhanced level certificate with barred list check(s) contains the same PNC information and check of information held by police forces as an enhanced level check but in addition will check against the children’s and/or adult’s barred lists.

If your application includes a request to check the barred list(s) the DBS has a statutory duty to consider any information that suggests you may pose a risk of harm. We will write to you if you are affected.

DBS adult first check - £6

DBS adult first is a service available to organisations who can request a check of the DBS adults’ barred list. Depending on the result, a person can be permitted to start work, under supervision, with vulnerable adults before a DBS certificate has been obtained.

Read application guidance and request an adult first check.

The requests carry strict criteria:

  • the position must require a criminal record check by law
  • the position must be eligible for access to the DBS adults’ barred list
  • the organisation must have requested a check of the DBS adults’ barred list on the DBS application form

The DBS reply to an DBS adult first check request will contain one of the following responses and will clearly state that it only forms the first part of the criminal record check application process and that further information will follow:

  • option 1: ‘registered body must wait for the DBS certificate’
  • option 2: ‘no match exists for this person on the current adults’ barred list’

If the DBS adult first check indicates that the registered body must wait for the DBS certificate, the details provided may have indicated a match on the DBS adults’ barred list. However, further investigation is required to confirm this and you should await the certificate. Alternatively the check will state that no match exists for the individual on the adults’ barred list.

How to apply for a DBS check

You can use the guide to arranging checks as an employer if you want a quick overview of this process.

As an employer or registered body, you provide the candidate with a DBS application form to complete and return to you.

Registered bodies can order new forms through online tracking or by calling us on 03000 200 190.

You must make sure the application form is fully completed and the information is accurate. You also need to confirm the applicant’s identity and verify evidence of their name, date of birth and current address

Guidance is available on completing the form for:

If a basic check is required, the employer can ask the individual to apply directly to DBS (if they work in England or Wales) or Disclosure Scotland (if they work in Scotland).

Continuation sheets

Where possible, countersignatories should only record the information required in the relevant boxes provided on the application form. Where this is not possible, countersignatories should submit a DBS continuation sheet together with the application form.

Where to send the completed form

Once you have signed and dated the application form, you should send the application to:

DBS applications
PO Box 3961
Royal Wootton Bassett

Avoiding common mistakes on the DBS application form

This list outlines the most recent common errors made on the DBS application form and what you should do to avoid them.

We have guidance for countersignatories on how to complete the DBS application form.

General: 5-year address not supplied

The form will be rejected if:

  • a full 5-year address history is not supplied including from and to dates in the correct format of: mm/yyyy,or
  • if there are gaps between address dates provided

Section y73: date of countersignature

The form will be rejected if:

  • the date is not completed using the correct format of dd/mm/yyyy
  • this field is left blank or is illegible (without attached explanation)

Section x68: is the application form for a free of charge volunteer?

The form will be rejected if:

  • both fields are completed
  • the field is left blank
  • the application is submitted for a volunteer and a cross (X) is placed in the ‘yes’ box, but a payment is also received

Section x61

You will need to make sure this section is completed correctly otherwise we may need to contact you to get further information, resulting in recruitment process delays.

Please complete the field as follows:

x61 line 1: you must now include the relevant workforce(s). Chose the appropriate:

  • Child workforce
  • Adult workforce
  • Child and Adult workforce
  • Other workforce (use this when the person is not working with children or adults)

x61 line 2: enter a description of the ‘position applied for’ up to 30 characters.

Workforce guidance is available for registered bodies to identify the type of workforce that a DBS applicant will be working in.

Section w59: Has the evidence checker established the applicant’s identity and verified the information?

The form will be rejected if:

  • the field is left blank or is illegible
  • both fields are completed

Section a12: other forename(s)

The form will be rejected if:

  • this field is left blank or is illegible when the surname (sections a5) and/or dates from and to (section a7) contain information
  • this field contains information and the surname (section a5) and dates from and to (section a7) are blank

To clarify - for each name you provide, you must ensure that the forename and surname fields are both completed.

Section y70: countersignatory number

The form will be rejected if:

  • this field is left blank or is illegible (without attached explanation)
  • if any digits are missing from the countersignatory number
  • the first 6 digits of the countersignatory number do not match up with registered body number (section y69)

Section a26: nationality

If question a24 ‘Do you hold a current passport?’ is completed ‘yes’, then a25-27 are mandatory and need to be completed. If not, the form will be rejected.

If a24 is completed ‘no’, then a25-27 should be left blank. If either a25 or a26 are completed, the form will be rejected.

Section e57: date of signature

The form will be rejected if:

  • this field is left blank or illegible
  • a future date has been provided

Section a7: dates from and to

The form will be rejected if:

  • this field contains date information and a5 or a6 is blank
  • date format used is invalid
  • this field is left blank or illegible when the forename and surname sections (a5/a6) contain information and no explanation has been attached

Volunteer applications

The DBS definition of a volunteer is defined in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 as:

“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.”

To qualify for a free-of-charge criminal record check, the applicant must not benefit directly from the position the DBS application is being submitted for. The applicant must not:

  • benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted
  • receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)
  • be on a work placement
  • be on a course that requires them to do this job role
  • be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role/qualification

It states on the DBS application form ‘By placing a cross in the yes box (at section 68) you confirm that the post meets the DBS definition for a free-of-charge volunteer application. Please note that DBS may recover the application fee if box 68 is marked in error and this could result in the cancellation of your DBS registration’.

Please read through the examples in the table below showing common volunteer errors.

Examples of eligible and ineligible volunteer roles

Position applied for DBS volunteer status Reasoning
Parent helpers in schools Eligible This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party
Scout/Guide Eligible This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party
Adoptive parents and other household members over 18 years old Eligible This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party
Foster carers and members of the same household over 18 years old Ineligible This activity is entirely voluntary but foster carers usually receive payments for these activities therefore it is deemed that neither foster carers nor other members of the household are entitled to free checks
Individuals working abroad on volunteering projects Ineligible This activity is entirely voluntary and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party, but these persons usually receive payment of a local salary and lump sum payments above and beyond what could be described as ‘travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses’. If no salary or lump sum payment is received, then they are eligible for a free-of-charge criminal record check
Medical/teaching/social work student on work placement, as part of training Ineligible This activity is a mandatory course requirement, is usually paid and is primarily undertaken to benefit the student

If you need further guidance please email customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk.

Tracking DBS check applications

The DBS provides a free, online tracking service that allows you to follow the progress of either of these standard or enhanced types of application:

You will be able to see:

  • what stage the application has reached in the checking process
  • if an application had to be returned due to errors
  • if the results of the criminal record check have been dispatched

Tracking individual applications

You will need:

  • an application form submitted to the DBS
  • an application form reference number
  • the date of birth of the applicant

Tracking multiple applications

You will need to provide the:

  • registered body number
  • countersignatory number
  • countersignatory’s date of birth

Ordering blank DBS application forms

Registered organisations and countersignatories who can access the multiple applications tracking service can order blank application forms online using the same login details.

You can also call the DBS helpline to order blank application forms.

You must be registered with DBS to order blank application forms.

Stages of the DBS checking process

Stage 1 - application form received and validated

The application form is checked for errors or omissions. The form is either scanned onto the DBS system or returned for correction to the countersignatory within 24 hours of receipt.

Stage 2 - Police National Computer (PNC) searched

Key data from the application form is compared against details from the Police National Computer (PNC) to search for any matches.

Stage 3 - Children and adults’ barred lists searched (where applicable)

Key data from the application form is compared against barred lists to search for any matches.

Stage 4 - Records held by the police searched

Enhanced checks are sent by secure, electronic means to the police for an additional check of records before the information is sent back to the DBS. Your details may be same as, or similar to details held at any police force across the country. To make sure potential matches are not missed, those police forces will check the details against their information.

Stage 5 - DBS certificate printed

All the information to be disclosed is printed under highly secure procedures and posted to the applicant. The applicant will then need to show their DBS certificate to the employer who requested the criminal record check.

Processing times for DBS checks

Each application is different and the completion time can vary with some checks taking longer, especially if they are at an enhanced level and are referred to the police for checks against non-conviction data.

You can find out more about processing times on our performance pages.

Update service

Individuals can now join the update service putting them in greater control of their information; allowing them to reuse their DBS certificates when applying for similar jobs.

This will reduce bureaucracy and save them time and money. If an individual joins the update service their employer can go online, with their consent, and carry out a free, instant check to find out if the information released on the DBS certificate is current and up-to-date.

To enable individuals to reuse their DBS certificates in the update service, Registered Bodies must now include the relevant Workforce in line 1 and the Position Applied For in line 2 of field x61 on the application form.

We have published a range of guidance about the update service on this website.

At the moment, the update service is not available for basic checks.


We remove certain specified old and minor offences from criminal record certificates issued from 29 May 2013. Changes to legislation were introduced to allow us to do this.

For more information about the filtering process please see our guidance documents.

Overseas applicants

Checking via the DBS

DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas, but it is possible to submit an application while the applicant is overseas.

In a small number of cases, overseas criminal records are held on the Police National Computer and these would be revealed as part of a criminal record check. You must still verify the identity of an overseas applicant.

As the DBS cannot access criminal records held overseas, a criminal record check may not provide a complete picture of an individual’s criminal record.

For more information please see the Home Office guidance Criminal records checks for overseas applicants

Checking via embassies

If you are recruiting people from overseas and wish to check their overseas criminal record, you should contact the embassy or High Commission of the country in question.

Find contact details for embassies and High Commissions in the UK on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website.

You can also contact the FCO Response Centre Helpline on 020 7008 1500.

If the foreign check needs translating, the embassy of the country concerned may be able to help.

The DBS is not involved in the processing of applications made by individuals to overseas authorities and will not be responsible for the contents or the length of time taken for information to be returned.

Certificates of good conduct

You should try to obtain a certificate of good conduct and any other references from potential overseas employees. The standard of foreign police checks varies. To find out the standard, you should contact either the authorities in a particular country, or their embassy.

Either you or the employee should obtain a certified translation of the certificate of good conduct. The DBS does not offer a translation service.

Checking an applicant’s right to work in the UK

The DBS does not check whether an applicant is permitted to work in the UK. The employer is responsible for ensuring employees have the right to work within the UK.

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure

The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides protective security advice. This is for companies and organisations that deliver the UK’s essential services.

You can find information about overseas criminal records checks on the CPNI website.


An applicant can raise a dispute if they believe there’s been a mistake in either:

  • the records provided, like wrong or irrelevant information on convictions
  • personal information, like a name or employer’s details

An employer or licensing authority can also appeal a DBS check if they’ve talked to the applicant first.

Read our disputes and appeals page to find out more.

Duration of criminal record check validity

There is no official expiry date for a criminal record check issued by DBS.

Any information revealed on a DBS certificate will be accurate at the time the certificate was issued. You should check the date of issue on the certificate to decide whether to request a newer one. In certain employment sectors a new criminal record check may be required periodically.

You may also be required by law to carry out a fresh check of the DBS children’s and/or adults’ barring lists in accordance with sector-specific guidance.

You can keep a DBS certificate for no longer than 6 months, to allow for consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints after a recruitment or suitability decision is made. If it is considered necessary to keep the certificate information for longer, you should consult the DBS.

Accepting a previously issued DBS check

It’s the employers decision to decide whether to accept a previously-issued DBS check.

If the applicant hasn’t joined the update service, you should consider the following before making a decision:

  • the applicant’s criminal record or other relevant information may have changed since its issue
  • the level of that check may not be right for the position you’re recruiting for
  • you’ll need to check that the original application position and workforce are correct for the role you’re recruiting for (any original certificate issued from June 2013 will show the workforce ‘child’ or ‘adult’, ‘child and adult’ or ‘other’)
  • the police disclose information on an enhanced DBS certificate based on child or adult workforce, for which the criminal record check was originally applied for
  • the police disclose information on an enhanced DBS certificate which was submitted for ‘other’ workforce, in relation to the position for which the criminal record check was originally applied for
  • the information revealed was based on the identity of the applicant, which was validated by another registered body
  • that the identity details on the certificate match those of the applicant

You can go to our guidance pages for information about eligibility for standard and enhanced checks.

Security features of a DBS certificate

It is essential that employers have processes in place that enable them to make safe recruitment decisions. As part of the decision making process, employers must ensure they see an original DBS certificate. Copies or digital photographs are not acceptable and must be rejected.

A DBS certificate contains the DBS logo on the front face and also contains a number of security features which can be used to verify whether it has been counterfeited or altered.

The areas to be aware of and examined are as follows:

  • an original DBS certificate has printing on both sides; the paper size is 209mm width x 404mm length which is larger than A4
  • the personal information print colour on the certificate is purple
  • a ‘crown seal’ watermark repeated down the right hand side of the certificate is visible both on the surface and when holding the certificate up to the light
  • a background design with the word ‘Disclosure’ appears in a wave-like pattern across both sides of the document – on the front of the certificate this pattern is green and on the rear of the document this is purple

If you are unsure whether a DBS certificate is genuine, or you think that it may have been altered, you should contact DBS immediately at FDIT@dbs.gsi.gov.uk.

DBS notifications sent to Registered Bodies via the e-bulk service for standard or enhanced checks, or to a Responsible Organisation via the basic web service, which reveal no information, may be transcribed in a letter format and will not be printed on DBS secure certificate paper. The electronic content can be included in a letter or document under the provision that the DBS logo must not be used. The DBS logo is a registered trademark in the United Kingdom, and the DBS does not allow or permit Registered Bodies or Responsible Organisations to use this logo.

Any letter should have a statement at the beginning that says ‘This is not a certificate issued by the DBS’. Neither the document nor associated guidance on the back of the DBS certificate should be reproduced in such a way that an individual or organisation could believe it to be a DBS certificate within the meaning of sections 113A, 113B, 114 and 116 of the Police Act 1997.

If you are presented with a clear certificate and after checking the Update Service it states “no further information on certificate,” please contact the DBS at FDIT@dbs.gsi.gov.uk, as the certificate may have been tampered with.

Withdrawing applications

An application for a DBS check can be withdrawn, but the application fee is non-refundable.

An applicant has the right under the Data Protection Act 1998 to ask for their application to be withdrawn at any time.

Any future need for a DBS check will have to be submitted as a new application and a new fee payment will need to be made.

Registered bodies (RB) should ask for a DBS application to be withdrawn when the applicant is no longer being considered for the position or no longer in the post. This is because you no longer have a right to see the outcome of the DBS checking process.

You can read about the roles that are most often submitted to DBS in our eligibility guidance.

The roles in the eligibility guide reflect how they are written in legislation, not from job descriptions in contracts. You will need to understand whether or not the duties of the person named in the application meet the legislative criteria for the level of check you have submitted.

If you want to withdraw an application you should send the request on letterhead paper to:

Correspondence out team,
2nd Floor West,
PO Box 165,
L69 3JD
Fax: 0151 676 1925

You should provide as much detail as possible so we can find the right application, including:

  • applicants full name
  • current address and postcode
  • application form reference number
  • countersignatory number
  • registered body number
  • position applied for

All requests to withdraw an application must be made in writing before the DBS check is at the printing stage.

You can check the progress of a standard or enhanced application using our tracking service.

CRB certificates

Following the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority to create the DBS, CRB-branded certificates should be treated the same as DBS-branded certificates.

Finance queries

If you are a registered or umbrella body and have a finance query, complete the DBS finance form and email it to us.

Contact DBS

Contact DBS information is available on the homepage.

Detailed guide: Responsible Organisations


Updated: New Responsible Organisation added to list.

A Responsible Organisation (RO) is an organisation registered with the DBS to submit basic checks through a web service.

Responsibilities of a Responsible Organisation (RO)

An RO will capture the details of a basic check application in their system before transferring it to DBS via a web service. You can apply for basic checks with DBS by visiting the website of a Responsible Organisation.

Individuals can also apply for a basic check directly to DBS using our new online application route if they live or work in England or wales, or to Disclosure Scotland if they live or work in Scotland.

An RO is responsible for confirming that:

  • information supplied in each application for a basic check has been checked in line with DBS identity guidance
  • the information provided in support of the basic check is complete and true
  • the applicant has provided consent to submit the application
  • they will pay DBS for basic checks that have been sent to us

Each RO must agree to DBS Terms and Conditions meet our processing standards and have a nominated accountable officer.

Responsible Organisations providing basic check services through DBS

Responsible Organisation Name Website
Access Personal Checking Services Ltd (APCS) www.criminalrecordchecks.co.uk
CRB Disclosure Services Ltd T/A Disclosure Services www.disclosureservices.com
uCheck www.ucheck.co.uk
Northgate HR PeopleChecking www.peoplechecking.com
Staffvetting.com Limited www.staffvetting.com
Verifile www.verifile.co.uk
Vero Screening www.veroscreening.com
Experian Ltd www.experian.co.uk
Hireright Ltd www.hireright.com
Sterling Talent Solutions www.sterlingtalentsolutions.com
Onfido Limited www.onfido.com
Capita Resourcing Ltd www.watchdog.org.uk
Credence Background Screening Limited www.credence.co.uk
Atlantic Data Ltd www.atlanticdata.co.uk
GB Group Plc www.gbplc.com
Complete Background Screening www.cbscreening.co.uk
Procius Limited www.procius.com
UK CRBS Limited www.ukcrbs.co.uk
G4S Secure Solutions www.g4s.com
Personnel Checks www.personnelchecks.co.uk/dbs-crb-checks/basic-disclosure/
Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd www.arnoldclark.com
Kent County Council County Hall www.kent.gov.uk
Pass Software Ltd www.passtechnology.com
Criminal Record and Barring Service Ltd www.criminalrecordandbarringservice.co.uk
Safe Computing Limited www.safecomputing.co.uk
UTC Aerospace Systems (Atlantic Inertial Systems) www.utcaerospacesystems.com
Wandsworth Borough Council www.wandsworth.gov.uk
Powys County Council www.powys.gov.uk
Nottinghamshire County Council www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
Buckinghamshire County Council www.buckscc.gov.uk
Agenda Resource Management Ltd www.agenda-rm.co.uk
Due Dilligence Checking Ltd www.ddc.uk.net
The Risk Advisory Group Plc www.riskadvisory.com
Security and Vetting Solutions Limited www.security-vetting.co.uk
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council www.stockport.gov.uk
Peoplecheck Ltd www.peoplecheck.co.uk
Civil and Corporate Security Limited www.civilandcorporate.co.uk
The Security Watchdog Limited www.securitywatchdog.org.uk/
Royal Mail Group www.royalmailgroup.com
Care Check Ltd www.carecheck.co.uk
Criminal Records Services www.criminalrecordsservices.com
Dorset County Council (Social Services) www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk
Mayflower Disclosure Services www.dbsdirect.co.uk
First Advantage www.fadv.com
Devon County Council www.devon.gov.uk
I-Cover Screening www.icover-services.com
REED www.reedglobal.com
Cornwall Council www.cornwall.gov.uk
TerraQuest Solutions Ltd www.authentiquest.info

The list of Responsible Organisations who are registered with the DBS will be updated regularly.

Transparency data: DBS Gender Pay Gap Report 2017


Gender pay gap legislation introduced last year requires organisations with 250 or more employees to report annually on their gender pay gap.

This report fulfils the department’s reporting requirements, analyses the figures in more detail and sets out what we are doing to close the gender pay gap in the organisation.

Corporate report: Independent Monitor's Annual Report 2016


This is the fourth annual report of the Independent Monitor for the period January to December 2016.

Collection: Migration transparency data


Updated: Updated migration transparency data published.

These documents include performance data related to areas in the Home Office business plan.

These documents also include data on borders and immigration activity which has been regularly requested from the Home Office by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

General statistics on immigration are in the Migration statistics collection.

Corporate report: DBS Strategic Plan 2017-2020


Strategic and corporate business plan for the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Detailed guide: Track a DBS application


Updated: Information updated regarding how to track basic, standard or enhanced checks.

Enhanced or Standard checks

The person being given a DBS check (the applicant) can track the progress of their standard or enhanced application using the DBS tracking service. They will need their application reference number and date of birth to track the application.

Employers who are registered with DBS can track multiple applications and order blank application forms online.

Basic checks

The person being given a DBS check (the applicant), employers and Responsible Organisations can track the progress of basic checks by using the DBS online account tracking service. They do not need to create an account however they will need the application reference number, applicant’s surname and date of birth.

Collection: DBS Newsletters


Updated: Last edition of DBS News added

DBS News is a quarterly newsletter for stakeholders.

If you want it emailed to you when it’s published, sign-up to our e-database and tick the ‘DBS News’ topic of interest.

Promotional material: DBS News 2018: Edition One


This edition includes updates on:

  • Keeping our customers satisfied
  • Reflecting on five years of safeguarding
  • New guidelines
  • Are you compliant?
  • Information is key
  • New route for Basics
  • Fair recruitment

News story: Partnership working to tackle fraud


DBS has been made aware that a number of people have been targeted by fraudsters asking them to pay upfront for DBS certificates that never materialised.

Dr Sue Smith, Director of Safeguarding at DBS said:

This sort of scam can be really distressing to those involved and we are keen to do all we can to prevent it. We will be working closely with colleagues in SAFER Jobs to raise awareness of the issue and advising people where to go for more support.

SAFER Jobs is a not-for-profit organisation set up by the Metropolitan Police to raise awareness and combat criminal activities that may be attempted on those seeking a job.

Keith Rosser, Chair of SAFER Jobs, said:

Recruitment fraud takes many guises including paying for background checks, identity theft, premium rate phone interview scams, and even human trafficking and modern slavery. The public can fall for fake jobs advertised online or they can even be ‘head-hunted’ by criminals finding their profiles or CVs online. We are proud of the impact we have had so far but there is still so much more to do to prevent job seekers from falling victim to fraudsters. It is great to be working with the DBS to help raise awareness of the issue and help reduce the number of people falling victim to this crime.

The DBS issue around 4.3 million certificates every year. The type of role you apply for will determine the level of DBS check you are eligible to have carried out. The following are the four levels of check available:

  • Basic check: This is suitable for any role. The certificate will show any unspent convictions and conditional cautions under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
  • Standard check: This is suitable for certain trusted roles such as security guards. The certificate shows both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer
  • Enhanced check: These certificates show the same information as the Standard but with the addition of further relevant information from the Police.
  • Enhanced with barred list check: This shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from doing the role.

For a Standard or Enhanced check the person needs to get an application form from the employer who asked them for a DBS check. This would then be submitted to the DBS by an organisation registered to do so. The certificate would then be issued to the individual and it would be up to them to share the information with the potential employer. An individual can request a Basic check on themselves without using an employer, using the DBS online application route.

Dr Smith added:

If anyone is concerned that they are being asked unnecessarily for a DBS check or that the person requesting a check may not be a legitimate organisation, especially if they are asking for money, then they should get in touch with us or SAFER Jobs to discuss their concerns. It is also worth remembering that if you are applying for a volunteer position we process you application for free.

For more information or to raise a concern visit www.safer-jobs.com, alternatively you can contact DBS by email customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk or call the DBS helpline on 03000 200 190 (for Welsh speakers 03000 200 191).