How to Apply for a DBS

In the UK, for certain jobs, it is a certain requirement that a DBS is carried out for every employee. Previously known as a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau), it became known as a DBS check when in 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau was merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) under the new name of the Disclosure and Barring Service.

What is a DBS check ?

A DBS is a disclosure and investigation into a person’s history to identify any criminal convictions, warnings, reprimands, and cautions they have received. The check will look at police records (the Police National Computer) and in some cases, for certain jobs, the Adult and Children’s Barred List. The local police of the applicant being checked may also hold what is known as ‘soft information’ that is not on the PNC. (Offences for which no charge was brought, for example.)

Why is it required?

The purpose of a DBS is primarily to safeguard the people and customers a person in a certain job will come into contact with and have influence over. It is a common misconception that it is a check carried out for those wishing to work with children. For some positions and industries, a DBS check has been standard practice for many years: anyone working with children; anyone working with vulnerable adults; or anyone working with money. It has become increasingly more common for DBS checks to be requested for healthcare professionals, childcare workers, workers in education, financial specialists, computer and IT management, and government workers.

The DBS Application Process

Currently, an individual can request a personal DBS check online. It is a basic check and dealt with by a direct application to the DBS via the UK Government website. You must be over 16 to apply and there is a fee. For companies and organisations, they too can apply via the same route however, it is more common to take the digital route, using a company who specialise in CRB checks online via their website, especially in the case of entities that need to check every employee or who have a large workforce or fast turnover of staff.  Everyone who is subject to a DBS check must provide written permission to the person/organisation before the background screening can be performed.

Using an online service removes the need for an entity to register with a third-party verification service that is required when applying through the government website. The company providing the checking service will take on all aspects of the screening process. Usually, the only thing the entity requesting the check has to do is to provide the supporting documentation and then wait for the results of the screening. Even though the applications are submitted online, the results are sent in the mail .

There are different rules for applications for DBS checks in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but in essence the same principles of requirement and process apply across the whole of the UK.