When to check someone else's criminal record
Employers can only check the criminal record of someone applying for certain roles, for example in healthcare or childcare.
This is known as getting a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
You apply in a different way if you want to check your own record.
Types of check
There are 3 types of check you can carry out as an organisation:
- a standard check shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
- an enhanced check shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
- an enhanced check with barred lists shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the list of people barred from doing the role
You can’t carry out a basic check as an organisation - you must ask the person to request their own basic DBS check. A basic check shows unspent convictions and cautions.
If you carry out criminal records checks, you must have a policy on employing ex-offenders and show it to any applicant who asks for it.
If you’re self-employed
You can’t apply for a standard, enhanced or enhanced with barred lists check for yourself.
Instead, you can:
- request a basic check
- ask the organisation you work for to apply for your check if you’re doing certain roles
Childminders can get a check through Ofsted.
When to repeat a check
A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It’s up to you to decide when a new check is needed.
If the applicant has signed up for the DBS update service you can check whether their certificate is up to date online.
Certificates for previous roles
You can accept a certificate that was requested for a previous role but you must:
- check the applicant’s identity matches the details on the certificate
- check the certificate is the right level and type for the role applied for
- check to see if anything has changed if the applicant is signed up for the update service
Checks on someone who lived abroad
DBS checks won’t cover the time someone lived outside the UK.
Check the rules in the country they lived in.
Contact DBS if you’re not sure whether you can request a check.
DBS customer services
Telephone: 0300 0200 190
Welsh: 0300 0200 191
Minicom: 0300 0200 192
International: +44 151 676 9390
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm (9am to 5pm for appeals and disputes)
Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Find out about call charges
DBS customer services
PO Box 3961
Royal Wootton Bassett