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What is a DBS check and how do I conduct one?

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

A DBS check is a check of your criminal record carried out by the Disclosure and Baring service. The Disclosure and Barring Service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions each year by processing and issuing DBS checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Why was the DBS check created?

The DBS check, previously known as CRB checks, was introduced in 2002 by the Home Office to protect vulnerable groups of people, by screening anybody they may potentially come into contact with during their employment or education.

The CRB service was especially useful for employers who wanted to learn more about potential employees while also demonstrating to their employees that they were concerned about their safety. In 2012, the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) and the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) amalgamated, simplifying the application and barred list check procedure, now known as a DBS check.

All the barred lists from the ISA were taken over by the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), which meant that the process was now part of the Enhanced DBS check, if a person was eligible. In addition, the DBS is now in charge of conducting criminal background checks. If necessary, the DBS can conduct a criminal history check as well as a barring check against a list of children or vulnerable persons.

What is included in the DBS check?

A DBS check now results in certificates being issued to an individual. Employers can then request to view this certificate to ensure that they are hiring qualified individuals. DBS also keeps track of the adults' and children's Prevented Lists and makes informed choices about whether or not a person should be placed on one or both of these lists and barred from participating in regulated activities.

There are different types of DBS check available depending in the requirements. A basic DBS certificate will list any convictions or conditional cautions that have not yet been served under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) of 1974.

A standard DBS check, which is suitable for roles such as security, will contain details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer, which are not subject to filtering.

An enhanced DBS check is suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care. An enhanced check is also suitable for a small number of other roles such as taxi license applications or people working in the Gambling Commission. This certificate will contain the same details as a standard certificate and, if the role is eligible, an employer can request that one or both of the DBS barred lists are checked. The certificate may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is deemed relevant and ought to be contained in the certificate.

Can I conduct DBS checks with VettingGateway?

Yes! VettingGateway’s Basic DBS Check conducts a criminal history search on your applicants, providing you with information relating to any unspent convictions or cautions your applicant may have. Our platform also provides you with live applicant progress on the check so you can see instantly what stage of the process the check is in. You will also get an update prior to receiving the hardcopy certificate, to confirm if any disqualifying offences appear on the certificate.

In order to process the application, DBS will require your applicants address history for the last 5 years with the dates they lived there, it will require their National Insurance number, passport and also their driving license. All of which is captured through one singular online application form that your applicants completes. This saves a lot of time capturing this information manually. Once you have this information, at the click of a button VettingGateway will process your DBS and communicate back to you when the check is complete.

For more information on how VettingGateway can help you conduct DBS checks click here, or you can sign up for your free starter license by clicking here.


The information Provided by VettingGateway in this blog was published on the 26/10/2021, all information was relevant at the time of publishing, however as our landscape is forever changing this information may not remain valid.

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