What are DBS Checks?
A DBS check is a document containing information held on an individual by police and government departments. It can be used by employers and voluntary organisations as part of their recruitment process. Disclosures are provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service, an executive agency of the Home Office.
DBS checks will detail different information, depending on the level of check that is requested, but the following information may be consulted:
- Information held on the Police National Computer (PNC). This includes convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings issued in the UK
- Information held by local police authorities relating to relevant to non-conviction information
- The information held on the Children’s and Adult’s Barred Lists, now maintained by the Disclosure and Barring Service
In total, there are three levels of DBS check available. Some are only available to those working in certain positions or roles.
For more information on each level of DBS check available please see a detailed description of each below.
A Basic DBS (described as a “criminal conviction certificate” in Part V of the Police Act 1997) is the lowest level of disclosure available and is available to anyone. This includes individuals and those who are self-employed. It contains details of convictions considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, or confirms the applicant has none.
All employers or voluntary organisations are entitled to request a Basic DBS check for their prospective employees or volunteers. However, those working in specified roles or positions may be eligible for a higher level of DBS check.
Standard DBS checks are for individuals in certain specified professions. This includes certain financial and legal roles.
A Standard DBS check will detail the following:
Both any unspent or spent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands an applicant may have received so long as they are not protected.
Enhanced DBS checks are for posts which must be eligible for the Enhanced level check to be requested. These are typically roles which involve interaction with children and vulnerable adults. The type of work involved is generally those who care for, supervise, teach or are in sole charge of these vulnerable groups. Examples of such roles include teachers or carers.
An Enhanced DBS check will detail the same criminal information as a Standard DBS check, but it will also allow for local police authorities to disclose any additional information they hold on an applicant, and deem relevant. Furthermore, checks against the child’s and adults barred lists can be requested as part of the Enhanced DBS application as appropriate.