The differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks: A guide

Confusion surrounding the differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks is common.

To fully understand where the issue arises, you need to look back at the emergence of the Criminal Records Bureau and the later formation of the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Read on to find out the key information about the differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks.

The launch of the Criminal Records Bureau

the differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks: CRB logo

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was instated in 2002 to provide a more comprehensive criminal record check.

Previously people were only checked against List 99, a list of those barred from working with children monitored by the Department for Education.

The CRB introduced a two part check which checked both List 99, and also with the local police authorities in areas where the applicant had lived or worked.

This extra measure was bought in following the case of Ian Huntley, the caretaker who murdered two school girls in 2002.

Vetting procedures had to be examined after authorities questioned how it had been possible for Huntley to work as a school caretaker given his criminal background – which included allegations of sexual offences.

The new vetting system offered by the CRB aimed to address this issue with the introduction of the local police authority checks.

This new CRB Check allowed for more information about the applicant to be included in any given check. This would allow employers more comprehensive information about a candidate before making a recruitment decision.

The formation of the Disclosure and Barring Service

the differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks: DBS logo

In 2012 the Disclosure and Barring Service was formed from a merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

The CRB had dealt with all criminal record searches and the ISA had managed the Adults and Children’s Barred Lists; previously known as ‘List 99’.

Following the merger, the DBS took control of both.

The merger was designed to streamline checks into one, more comprehensive, check.

An enhanced DBS will now disclose any spent/unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands the applicant may have received alongside searches on the Children and Adults’ Barred Lists if applicable.

For an enhanced Disclosure the local police authorities are also able to provide any additional information they hold about the applicant that is deemed relevant.

The differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks – a summary

Resultingly, CRB Checks are now referred to as DBS Checks or DBS Disclosures meaning it is no longer possible to request a ‘CRB’ or CRB Check.

Although now named differently, CRB Checks and DBS Checks are alike in that they are both a criminal record check.

Consequently, CRB Checks are still considered valid as they have no official expiry date.

It is most often left to the employers’ discretion when to request a new DBS Check.

They may wish to refer to a regulatory body such as Ofsted or CQC for guidance. Their current recommendation is for a renewed check every 1-3 years.

For more information regarding  the differences between CRB Checks and DBS Checks or any aspect of criminal record checking please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 197 8858 or email us at info@crb-checkonline.co.uk.