DBS Checks

DBS stands for the Disclosure and Barring Service. Their checks allow employers to make informed recruitment decisions by checking the criminal history of their candidates. Hopefully we can answer all of your DBS questions below, but if you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

DBS check types

What levels of DBS checks are there?

There are 3 levels of DBS checks: Basic, Standard and Enhanced, each with their own level of eligibility requirements:

  • Basic: this will show the candidate's unspent convictions or conditional cautions.
  • Standard: this will show the candidate's spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, or warnings.
  • Enhanced: this will show the same information as a Standard disclosure, as well as any other relevant information held by the candidate's local police force.
What is a Basic DBS check?

A Basic DBS is a criminal record check that shows if the candidate has any unspent convictions or conditional cautions. A conviction is considered spent after a certain amount of time has passed, dependent on the severity and nature of the offence and the length of sentence received. A conditional caution is deemed spent after 3 months. This check is available to anyone who is working, or planning to work, in England or Wales. Candidates living or working in Scotland can have a Disclosure Scotland Basic Check (DS).

Why should I get a Basic DBS check?

Basic DBS checks have no eligibility requirements, meaning anyone in England and Wales, in any role, can apply for one. A Basic DBS is perfect if you have candidates who are not eligible for the Standard or Enhanced checks and provides peace of mind in the people you are hiring.

Who can get a Standard DBS check?

A Standard DBS check can only be requested by an employer for candidates undertaking a role listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (see specific roles). Self-employed individuals are unable to apply for a Standard DBS check on themselves due to the current legislation in England and Wales.

What documents do I need from my candidate for a Standard DBS check?

Candidates need to provide the same ID documents for both Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. There are many different types of documents accepted in order to verify their identity, but usually it consists of a primary document i.e. a passport, alongside supporting documents to verify their name and address. If a candidate is a non-EEA national, you will need to check their right to work documentation in addition to the other documents. Vetting.com will guide your candidate through the process, showing them their options and how to upload them.

How do I track the progress of a Standard DBS?

Our platform will update at each step of the way throughout the DBS application. Once the Standard check has been completed, the platform will show the check as 'complete' and you will be able to view and download the certificate.

What is an Enhanced DBS check?

An Enhanced DBS check is a criminal record check that shows the same information as a Standard DBS check, as well as any other relevant information held by the candidate's local police force. Enhanced DBS checks can also include a check of the children's and/or adult's barred list if applicable.

Who is eligible for an Enhanced DBS check?

Eligibility for an Enhanced DBS check relies on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 which outlines the specific roles and professions where this is required.

Which workplaces need an Enhanced DBS check?

A candidate who works in any of the following workplaces once a week or three times within a 30-day period requires an Enhanced DBS check:

  • Schools or nurseries
  • CQC registered care homes
  • High security psychiatric hospitals

Some of these roles also require candidates to undergo a barred list check.

More information about DBS checks

Why do my employees need a DBS check?

DBS checks provide peace of mind for employers but are also valuable and vital for many other reasons:

  • To avoid risk (to your company and vulnerable people): by law, if your employee is going to work in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults, they must have a DBS check.
  • Protect vulnerable groups: similarly, it is illegal for someone who has been barred from working with children and vulnerable groups to do so. Getting DBS checks for all candidates ensures that safeguarding procedures have been followed.
How do I get the results?

Vetting.com will notify clients and candidates as soon as your DBS has been processed.

Candidates will be sent a copy of their DBS certificate for their own records directly from the DBS.

Is a DBS check the same as a CRB check?

In short, yes! When the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), the DBS was created. CRB checks helped employers access criminal information and the ISA held the barred lists of people considered unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups. DBS checks can do both of these functions in one application.

How do I get a DBS check?

Using Vetting.com, you can request and track DBS and other pre-employment checks in one, easy to use platform. Once you've signed up with Vetting.com, you can add your candidates, who will then be notified and guided through the information they need to complete. Throughout the whole process you, as a Vetting.com user, are able to see where the candidate is in the process and when the results are ready.

Is there any way to fast-track a DBS check?

Unfortunately, no. DBS checks are processed by your local police force and we have no control over that. However, in order to avoid unnecessary delays, you can ensure the information you have provided is correct and that all fields are filled in. Don't worry, Vetting.com makes the process simple and if you’re unsure of anything, we're always on hand to help.

Can I start work before receiving a DBS check?

If you are working in a regulated activity with vulnerable adults or children, your employer should not risk asking you to start work before receiving the results of your check. If you are working for a company who provides care services for adults, your employer can use the DBS Adult First service if they wish you to start work sooner, under supervision. However, this check cannot be completed if you are working with children.

What documents do I need to provide for a DBS check?
How long does a DBS check take?

The time it takes to receive the results of a DBS check is dependent on the level of check. Basic DBS checks usually take up to 48 hours, Standard DBS checks are usually completed within 5 days and Enhanced DBS check results are usually received within 14 days. However, these check times can vary depending on the DBS themselves and the police.

Can I use the same DBS check for different jobs?

The level of DBS check you receive is dependent on your role and workplace. Therefore, if your new job matches your previous role and workplace, you should be able to use the same certificate. It is, however, up to your employer's discretion whether they would like to carry out another DBS check.

Volunteers

Can volunteers get a DBS check?

20% of DBS check applications are for voluntary positions. Volunteers who are eligible can get both a Standard and Enhanced DBS check if they are '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 other than or in addition to a close relative' (Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002). Employers must distinguish between paid employees and volunteers when applying for DBS checks, especially if a volunteer later goes on to become a paid member of staff (in which case, a new non-volunteer DBS check would be needed).

How do I know if my volunteer is eligible?

You can check the eligibility guide online or alternatively, if you can answer 'no' to each of these questions, your candidate qualifies as a volunteer:

  1. Does the candidate directly benefit from the position for which they are being DBS checked?
  2. Does the candidate receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)?
  3. Is the candidate on a work placement?
  4. Is the candidate on a course that requires them to volunteer in this role?
  5. Is the candidate taking a trainee position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification?
What are some examples of eligible and ineligible volunteer roles?

Some examples of roles that are eligible for a Volunteer DBS check are:

  • Parent helpers within schools/nurseries
  • Adoptive parents
  • Scouts/Guides leaders

These roles are eligible as they are entirely voluntary, unpaid and provide a service to a third party.

Some examples of roles that are ineligible for a volunteer DBS check are:

  • Students on work placements as part of their degree/qualification training e.g. teaching, medical, social work etc.
  • People volunteering on projects abroad
  • Members of a foster carer's household (including the carers themselves), aged 18 or over.

Being a foster carer (or within the household) is voluntary, however usually they receive payment for their service, therefore all members of the household aged 18 and over would not be eligible for a Volunteer DBS check.

What level do I need for a Volunteer DBS check?

Volunteer DBS checks are only available at Standard or Enhanced levels and must be requested through the employer or company the volunteer is attending. If the volunteer is '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 other than or in addition to a close relative' (Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002), DBS will not charge for the check. However, there may be a small administration fee if the check is applied for through an umbrella body, like Vetting.com. Since Basic DBS checks are not a legal requirement for volunteers, the DBS charges £23 if you wish to apply for a Basic DBS for your volunteer.

Why should volunteers be DBS checked?

Companies and employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their staff (paid and voluntary), as well as any vulnerable people their staff encounter and obtaining a DBS check is vital for this. Companies who are governed by regulatory bodies such as Ofsted, Care Quality Commission and Charity Commission have standards set for them outlining who needs to be checked and how often. If you are unsure whether your company is meeting requirements, we recommend checking with your relevant regulatory body.

What's the process for a Volunteer DBS check?

The DBS processes over 800,000 applications for volunteer positions each year. They follow the same process as employee DBS checks and therefore take the same time as DBS checks for paid employment. The only difference is on the side of the DBS, where they determine whether they need to charge the company or not.

The volunteer would need to complete the Volunteer DBS check application form and provide the same documentation as employee DBS applications, to verify their identity. As the employer, you will be asked to specify that the applicant is a volunteer at the relevant point in the process. Once the application is complete, the DBS will send a hard copy of the certificate of results to the applicant. More information on the process involved for Volunteer DBS checks.

Has anything changed now that the DBS can do Basic checks?

In 2018, the DBS took over the processing of Basic checks for people working and living in England and Wales due to different legislative criteria on the time it takes for convictions to become spent. Previously these were issued by Disclosure Scotland. Therefore, the governing body that process the Basic DBS will be dependent on where the applicant will be working.

Vetting.com can help with your DBS checks

Why Vetting.com?

Our platform is there to make everyone's lives easier. As an employer, your dedicated Customer Success Manager will train you on how to add a candidate, request checks, see how they are progressing through the checks and view the results at a click of a button. As a candidate, the easy-to-use platform will guide you through exactly what information you need to provide and what to do next. And if you ever need help, our support team is just a call or click away.

How does Vetting.com work?

Vetting.com removes the hassle, friction, and pain from the background screening process. It is intuitive, slick, and seamless for clients, candidates, and referees. Our platform centralises all your background screening in one location for a faster, fully compliant, and more cost-effective process. Vetting.com can be used on any device allowing clients, candidates, and referees to complete their respective parts of the process anywhere, at any time.

How do I sign up to Vetting.com?

If you are interested in using Vetting.com to speed up, add security and improve your candidates' experience of the background checking process, please contact us and we can show you how the platform works.

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