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Types of DBS check

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There are four types of DBS check for people aged 16 and over (the minimum age a check can be carried out). Different organisations in different countries will use their own laws to decide which checks to complete.

Basic check

Basic checks just give information about unspent cautions or convictions. There’s no legislation on them so anyone can be asked to complete one.

They can be requested by the person themselves, or by the organisation that employs or works with them, or intends to (as a staff or volunteer). There’s a fee for a basic check, which also applies to volunteers.

Standard check

Standard checks give information about spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. These can only be carried out for certain eligible roles.

They can’t be requested by the person themselves; only an employer or a recruiter. There’s a fee for a standard check, but it doesn’t apply to all volunteers.

For more information read the eligibility guidance for standard DBS checks.

Enhanced check

Enhanced checks give the same information as a standard check, plus any information held by the local police force for their current address and any previous addresses that is relevant to the role. These can only be carried out for certain eligible roles.

They can’t be requested by the person themselves; only an employer or a recruiter. There’s a fee for an enhanced check but it doesn’t apply to all volunteers.

For more information read the eligibility guidance for enhanced DBS checks.

Enhanced check with barred lists

These give the same information as an enhanced check, but they also disclose whether the applicant is on the DBS list of people barred from carrying out certain activities with children or adults (depending on which group the person will be working with). These checks can only be carried out for eligible roles.

If someone is on a barred list they must not carry out regulated activity they’re barred from. It’s an offence to employ a staff member or allow a volunteer to do so.

These checks can’t be requested by the person themselves; only an employer or a recruiter. There’s a fee for an enhanced check with barred lists, but it doesn’t apply to all volunteers.

ID checks

To apply for a DBS check, applicants must show a range of ID documents. The Disclosure and Barring Service has guidance on checking ID for standard and enhanced DBS applications.

The Post Office provide a useful DBS ID verification service that can be used to check documents. For example, on behalf of organisations whose employees or volunteers are remote.

If an applicant can’t show the ID that’s needed, they can still apply for a check by ticking the W59 box on the application form. The Disclosure and Barring Service will contact them and give them information about having their fingerprints taken at their local police station, so their DBS application can still be progressed.

More information

  • For activities and roles in England and Wales, DBS checks are done by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
  • For activities and roles in Scotland, criminal record checks are done by Disclosure Scotland. The rules are different to those set out here.
  • For activities and roles in Northern Ireland, criminal record checks are done by Access NI. The rules are different to those set out here.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 26 April 2023

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