Basic Criminal Record Checks for employers – a guide

Employers won’t need reminding it can be helpful finding out a little more about your employees’ past. With that in mind, hopefully this guide to Basic Criminal Record Checks for employers will help.

Not everyone is eligible to apply for a DBS Check (formerly known as a CRB Check). To apply for a DBS Check, applicants must be working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults or children.

For more information on who qualifies for DBS Checks, please refer to our blog on eligibility for DBS Checks or our guide on who needs a DBS Disclosure.

For those who do not meet the requirements the Disclosure and Barring Service have set in place, all is not lost – you still have the option of a Basic Disclosure.

This check is the lowest level of Disclosure and is also known as a Basic Criminal Records Check, Basic Police Check or a Basic CRB.

It is essentially a check against the Police National Computer (PNC) for details of all current criminal convictions which are considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The Basic Disclosure certificate will either provide these details or – in an ideal world – confirm there are no such convictions. As such, it will guarantee you either (a) crucial information about your employees’ unspent convictions or (b) the peace of mind that goes with knowing there are none.

basic criminal record checks for employers - a checklist

Basic Criminal Record Checks for employers – the key details

When applying for a Basic Disclosure, employers need to obtain the following information from their applicants:-

  • Full name and title
  • Any other names used (either surnames or forenames)
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Date of birth
  • Town of birth
  • Gender
  • Five-year address history (including a month and year for each address)
  • Documents seen to confirm I.D. (must see one to confirm name and date of birth and one to confirm address)

Basic Criminal Record Checks are normally available within 3-10 working days.

A word of warning: It is the employer’s responsibility to enter all the information onto the online system correctly as there is no ability to edit once the case has been approved.

If any information is incomplete or incorrect, the governing body (Disclosure Scotland) may raise a query. This invariably means delays so do not submit anything until you are sure!

When the case is complete, the employer will receive a paper certificate showing any unspent criminal convictions or – as mentioned previously – no such convictions.

Which industries typically require a Basic Disclosure?

  • Contractors working on behalf of the council or housing associations
  • Pubs and bars
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Nightclubs
  • Late-opening cafes
  • Takeaways
  • Village and community halls
  • Supermarkets

If you are an employer and you would like any more information on how to request Basic Disclosures, please call us on 0843 178 0818 or email We’d be only too happy to answer any queries you may have.