What is a DBS Check & What Types Are There?

The DBS was created in 2012 when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged.

What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check was formerly known as a CRB check. It is a means of supplying your organisation with the information  to help you make safer recruitment and placement decisions. This is particularly vital when it comes to positions involving children and adults at risk.

DBS checks are only one part of the recruitment process, and the eligibility for undertaking them primarily relates to social and health care activity. If your organisation does not operate in these areas, you should first and foremost follow the good practice guidelines in our safe recruitment process guidance.

Safe Recruitment Process Guidance

Who is Eligible for a DBS Check?

A key point to remember is that, although an individual may have an opportunity to come into contact with children or adults with care and support needs, this in itself does not make them eligible for a DBS check. Their eligibility to apply for a check depends on the specific role they will perform while conducting their duties within your organisation.

All specific enquiries regarding DBS checks of staff and volunteers in your organisation should be directed through to the Disclosure and Barring Service. The following information is given as a basic guide for your organisation.

Types of DBS Checks

There are  four types of DBS checks:

Basic DBS Check

Shows unspent convictions and cautions.

Standard DBS Check

Shows filtered convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands that are held on the police national computer.

Enhanced DBS Check

Shows everything that the standard check does, plus any police information that a chief police officer believes is relevant for the role or the workforce applied for.

Enhanced With Barred List Check

Shows everything that the Enhanced check does plus an additional check of the appropriate “barred list” for the work being done.

Your Organisation’s Responsibilities

Legally, your organisation:

  1. Must not knowingly allow a barred person to work in Regulated Activity.
  2. Must inform the DBS if an individual is removed from Regulated Activity because they have harmed, or because they pose a risk of harm to vulnerable groups (including children).

Regulated Activity is a legal phrase used to describe specific circumstances where individuals are working or volunteering with children or adults who are at risk because of help or treatment they are receiving. These are activities that the Disclosure and Barring service can bar people from doing.

Find out more about DBS Regulated Activities


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