Disclosure and barring

Disclosure and barring checks are the name for what was known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.

What are they?

A DBS check should be included as part of your recruitment process. It helps your organisation to determine whether a person is a suitable candidate for a particular role by providing information about their criminal history.

There are two levels of check:

(i) Standard checks reveal information relating to spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC).

(ii) Enhanced checks reveal the same information as Standard Checks but also check against information held by local police forces (for instance, relevant on-going investigations). When specified, an Enhanced Check can also be used to check against lists of people prohibited from working with children and vulnerable adults. These are known as ‘barred lists’.

DBS checks are free for volunteers. The DBS defines a ‘volunteer’ as a person who 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.”


Who should have a DBS check?

Anyone who works with children and young people regularly should have a Disclosure and barring check (DBS). Regular activity means:

1. Unsupervised activities: teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, or providing advice / guidance on well-being, or driving a vehicle only for children.
2. Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact, for example schools, children's homes, childcare premises (but not work by supervised volunteers).Work under (1) or (2) is Regulated Activity only if done regularly. In this context, ‘regular’ means carried out by the same person frequently (once a week or more often), or on 4 or more days in a 30-day period (or in some cases, overnight).
3. Relevant personal care, for example washing or dressing; or health care by or supervised by a professional, even if done once.
4. Registered childminding; and foster-carers.


How do I get a DBS check?

For further information on DBS checks please see:

DBS check - eligible positions guidance

Disclosure and barring service leaflet

DBS website