DBS Checks: Four Common Myths Busted

Here at CRB Check Online, we know there are lots of myths surrounding DBS checks and how to apply for them.

DBS checks: the myths busted

We’ve collated some of the most common myths we hear and provided you with the actual answers, so you can be more informed about DBS checks.

Myth 1: Anyone can apply for a standard or enhanced DBS check

One of the most common misconceptions about DBS checks is about who can apply for them. For standard and enhanced DBS checks, an applicant must be legally eligible to obtain a check.

Part of this legislation also means that only employers can apply for these levels of DBS check – individuals cannot apply themselves. This rule is designed to ensure that only the employer who is legally entitled to know the applicant’s full criminal record information has access to it, but also so that vulnerable groups are safeguarded.

Most people who are eligible for a DBS check will be working with children or vulnerable adults – for example, carers and teachers.

However, there are a number of roles which entitle an individual to a DBS check. For more information, please visit our quick eligibility guide, or use the DBS eligibility tool to find out whether a role is eligible for a check.

Myth 2: DBS checks take up to six weeks

Contrary to popular belief, there is no maximum time limit on how long a DBS check can take to process. The DBS needs to ensure it can carry out accurate vetting, meaning it can hold the application for as long as is needed to do this.

At CRB Check Online, our average turnaround time is just 48 hours for a standard or enhanced DBS check, demonstrating that most DBS applications don’t take long at all. However, this timeframe cannot be guaranteed as the DBS can hold the application for as long as necessary.

There is no maximum time limit that a DBS check can take to process.

Myth 3: DBS checks provide a pass or fail result

Despite what you may have heard, DBS checks do not operate on a pass or fail result. Both standard and enhanced checks will disclose any unspent and spent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands an applicant has that are not protected. Enhanced DBS checks also include the facility for the police to include any other information they hold and deem relevant on an applicant’s certificate.

The certificates are designed to provide the employer with accurate information regarding the applicant’s criminal record, which the employer should consider when making their recruitment decision.

Consequently, having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from getting a job. Employers will consider the nature of any offences and length of time since they occurred when making a recruitment decision.

Myth 4: DBS checks expire after one year

A DBS certificate will detail the criminal record information that is accurate at the time the application is made. Subsequently, the information on the DBS is only truly accurate at the time of printing. This means that there is no official expiry date on a DBS certificate, as there is no specified time after which the information would be deemed invalid.

Requesting a new check for an individual is the responsibility of the employer, and they can determine when a new check should be made. If they have any regulatory bodies they should consult with those bodies regarding DBS checks, as they may have a set policy in place.

It’s also important to note that DBS checks from other organisations should only be accepted if the position field, workforce type and requirement for barred list checks are the same as those needed for the new organisation – otherwise an employer may see information they are not legally entitled to see.

DBS checks: the myths busted

As we’ve seen, there are a number of myths around when it comes to DBS checks.

We hope this guide has given you an insight into the realities of the process, and left you more informed.

If you have any further questions regarding DBS checks, please get in touch.

Looking to get started requesting DBS checks? Register here for free!