4. Tracking the application and getting a certificate

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

The person being given a DBS check (the applicant) can check on the progress of their application using the DBS tracking service.

Employers can track multiple applications.

The applicant, employer and organisation that applied for the search will see the results of the check.

It’s not possible to access the DBS update service through the tracking service.

DBS certificate

Once the check is completed, DBS will send a certificate listing the results to the applicant. The employer will have to ask the applicant to see the certificate.

Security features

Certificates have security features to prove they’re genuine, including:

  • a ‘crown seal’ watermark repeated down the right side, visible both on the surface and when held up to the light
  • a background design featuring the word ‘Disclosure’, which appears in a wave-like pattern across both sides of a certificate; the pattern’s colour alternates between blue and green on the reverse
  • ink and paper that change colour when wet

The security features for a CRB certificate issued before 1 December 2012 are the same as for the DBS certificate.

Reusing a DBS check

A DBS certificate only contains information from a DBS check on a certain date and for a particular purpose.

Employers can accept a previously issued certificate but must:

  • check the applicant’s identity matches the details on the certificate
  • check the certificate is of the right level and type for the role applied for
  • carry out a free-of-charge status check to see if new information has come to light since the certificate’s issue; the applicant must have already joined the DBS update service

Employers can accept a previously issued certificate without a status check but at their own risk.

CRB-branded certificates should be treated the same as DBS-branded certificates.

Lost certificates

DBS can’t provide replacements for lost or destroyed certificates.

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