DBS Check Questions: Debunking the Myths

At CRB Check Online we’re always happy to answer your DBS Check questions!

There are lots of myths and misconceptions surrounding DBS Checks. We busted four of them in a previous blog, and we thought it was high time we set the record straight on a few more.

In answer to some of the DBS Check questions we get asked most often, here are three common myths – debunked.

dbs check questions

Myth no. 1: DBS Checks have an expiry date


We mentioned this one in our last myth-busting blog, but we get asked this question so often – on an hourly basis, in fact – that we thought we’d stick it in again.

So…do DBS Checks expire? 

The truth is that a DBS Check does not have an expiration date. 

A DBS certificate will contain the information that was on the applicant’s criminal record at the time the application was made – so the certificate will only truly be accurate on its date of issue. 

It’s up to employers to decide whether the check was carried out recently enough for the job in question. Many organisations have a policy in place that dictates how often DBS Checks should be renewed. 

Some regulatory bodies, like Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission, have requirements for how often DBS Checks need to be renewed – so if your organisation is regulated by one, you’ll need to follow their policy. 

It’s important to store DBS certificate information correctly. The DBS code of practice requires that organisations only use DBS certificate information for the purpose for which it was obtained.

The information should be destroyed after a suitable period has elapsed – usually no longer than six months.


Myth no. 2: I don’t get paid for my role, so I should have a volunteer DBS Check


On the surface, this seems like a no-brainer – if you don’t get paid, you’re a volunteer, right?

However, this is not necessarily the case in the eyes of the DBS. 

The DBS does not charge a fee for volunteer DBS Checks (although umbrella bodies usually charge an administration fee to process them) – but in order to be eligible for a free volunteer check, you must meet specific criteria outlined by the DBS.

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 defines a volunteer 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 DBS Check, the applicant must not:

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


Myth no. 3: There’s a legal requirement to have a DBS Check


This is another one of the DBS Check questions we get asked most often, with many people believing it’s a legal requirement to have a DBS Check.

In actual fact, most of the time there is no legal requirement for anyone to have a DBS Check. Lots of organisations require staff to have DBS Checks as a matter of best practice. 

Employers are only legally allowed to request DBS Checks for employees who are eligible, and a person’s eligibility must be assessed based on their individual role. 

However, there is a legal requirement for employers to ensure that anyone they employ to do a regulated activity has not been barred from doing so – and this is done by way of an Enhanced DBS Check.


Your DBS Check questions answered


We hope this blog has answered some of your most pressing DBS Check questions.

If you have any more, we’re always just an email or phone call away – so get in touch!