DBS Checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

Who can request a DBS check?

An employee, or a job candidate cannot request a check on themselves. Only employers, or umbrella companies authorised to conduct a check on an employer's behalf can request a check.

The check can be applied for in a number of ways. Traditionally employers would have used a paper application (this methods is still available), but with the advent of technology, which Security Watchdog assisted the DBS to develop, the majority of applications are now processed online. Both the paper and online application forms resemble the old CRB application, so those that haven't applied for a check for a while will be familiar with them.

If you are an employer that makes a large volume of applications per year, you may find that our eBulkPlusTM service may be of use to you. This software enables employers to make multiple, or batch, applications for processing and monitoring simultaneously.

Last year Security Watchdog and its clients using our umbrella licence service processed over 1 million DBS checks, making us one of the highest, if not the highest, processor of checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).


Adult Barred Lists

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults.

The ISA merged with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to gather relevant information on every person who wants to work or volunteer with those designated as 'at risk' people.

The ISA's role

The Independent Safeguarding Authority's role is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. Potential employees and volunteers will need to register with the ISA.

Every person who wants to work or volunteer with vulnerable people will be assessed using data gathered by the DBS (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau), including relevant criminal convictions, cautions, police intelligence and other appropriate sources.

Children's Barred Lists

It is a requirement of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which is responsible for enforcement of various Protection of Children's Acts, across the British Isles, that those working in a setting involving direct or indirect contact with children be screened to assess their suitability.

The Children's Barred List (formerly known as List 99) is a database which offers a quick way of finding out whether an individual is on the list of people barred from working with children, without conducting a full Enhanced DBS check.

This check is useful for individuals who require access to a setting where children are present and need this result at short notice while they are waiting on their Enhanced check to be completed.

The database for this list is held and maintained by Teachers' Pensions and the results of the check on this database will be returned within 48 hours.


Standard, Enhanced & Enhanced with Lists DBS Checks

Effectively there are three levels of check dependent on the role you are recruiting for. The level of check required will dictate what level of check is appropriate. For example for a role which requires working closely with children or vulnerable adults an enhanced check is mandatory.

The standard check will identify if the candidate has any unspent convictions, the enhanced check will identify spent and unspent convictions, whilst the enhanced with lists check will also check if an applicant is currently on any register that bars them working with children and vulnerable adults. You can find out more about the change from CRB to DBS on the Home Office website.


Standard DBS check

A Standard DBS check is currently only available to employers and umbrella companies acting on behalf of an employer. 

However, as an individual you can apply for a criminal record check through Disclosure Scotland, which is acceptable to all organisations as proof of your criminal record status.

As the name reflects this is the lowest level of disclosure check available through the DBS and contains details of spent and unspent convictions according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, along with any cautions, reprimands and final warning which are held on central police records. It will also state if there are no such convictions to report. 

The Standard DBS check is commonly used by employer's to check the criminal records of those applying for jobs that are not of a sensitive nature, or involving contact with large sums of money.

Enhanced DBS Check

The Enhanced DBS Check will show details of all cautions, final warnings and reprimands, as well as all spent and unspent convictions held on an individual's criminal record. It will additionally detail any information held by local police which it is felt would be relevant to the position you are applying for.

Although for most job positions only  Standard DBS check is required, for positions in certain sectors an enhanced DBS check is mandatory. These include: 

  • Those working in support roles in healthcare, such as a cleaner in a care home
  • Financial Services
  • Education - classroom assitants and parent helpers
  • Admissions clerk in a childrens clinic or hospital
  • Legal
  • Contractors on regulated sites (eg schools)

Enhanced DBS with Lists

An Enhanced with Lists DBS check (formerly known as an Enhanced CRB check) is the highest level of criminal record check and is used for roles working with children and vulnerable adults. It will contain the same PNC (Police National Computer) information as a Standard and Enhanced Disclosure, but also includes a check of DBS Barred Lists and information held by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

One list holds information on individuals who are unsuitable for working with children, the other on those who are unsuitable for working with vulnerable adults. Individuals placed on either list are not allowed to work with the relevant group. An individual can be on both lists.

Enhanced Disclosures are also required in other situations such as judicial appointments and gaming or lottery licences.

Additional information on Disclosures

The Disclosure and Barring Service (previously the Criminal Records Bureau) recognises that Enhanced Disclosure information can be extremely sensitive and personal, and therefore it has published a Code of Practice and employers' guidance for recipients of Disclosures to ensure they are handled fairly and used properly.

It has now been replaced by the Vetting & Barring Scheme (VBS), which is managed by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

By implication these checks take longer to process but are mandatory. You will need to provide a digital copy of your passport, or driving licence which shows your date of birth, your National Insurance number as well as a utility bill, bank, mortgage or credit card statement that shows your home address.  These should be scanned and included with your online application.


Paper based DBS

Whilst our online DBS checking service is very popular, we understand that some of our customers prefer, or are obliged, to use printed application forms and certificates,

Security Watchdog has been an Umbrella Body since 2002 and are highly experienced in processing paper based criminal records checks. We have expert DBS teams to process and chase applications, which to your business means the service will minimise cost, inaccuracy and potential delays in commencing employment.

To use our Paper-based DBS service please call +44(0)114 241 3280 or email dbs.enquiries@capita.co.uk

DLCU Enhanced Disclosure checks

The Home Office Drug Licensing and Compliance Unit (DLCU) requires Enhanced Disclosure checks for all of those named on application forms for Controlled Drug domestic licences and Precursor Chemical Category 1 licences and Category 2 and 3 registrations.

eBulkPlus cuts DBS lifescale timescales down from 10-20 days to 48 hours on average by accepting disclosure applications online and returning the results electronically. Candidates submit data themselves, so no more data entry/error correction with mandatory fields is required from your team. As it's a paperless solution, your stationery, postage, storage and destruction charges are eliminated.