DBS checks: detailed guidance

A collection of guidance documents and information about DBS checks and processes.

An employer may request a DBS check (also referred to as a disclosure check) as part of their recruitment process. These checks are processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The types of check are as follows:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions

  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings

  • a enhanced check, which 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 a check of the barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the adults’ barred list, children’s barred list or both

Applicants (job candidates) can’t do a standard or enhanced check on themselves - you will need to get an application form from the employer who asked you for a disclosure check.

You can request a basic check for yourself.

The type of work you are doing, or will be doing, will determine the level of check that you need.

You can find out more about the DBS check process in this guide.

There are also collections of guidance relating to the following:

Information about the DBS update service can be found here.

Guides for applicants

The below guides may be useful for applicants (job candidates). They relate to basic, standard and enhanced DBS checks.

Applicants can’t apply for a standard or enhanced check by themselves. This will need to be done through the employer who has asked for a DBS check.

Applicants can apply for a basic check by themselves, either directly to DBS via our online application route, or through a Responsible Organisation.

Guides for employers and third parties

The below guides may be useful for employers, and third parties such as Registered Bodies.

Note, the DBS can’t access criminal records held overseas, so a DBS check may not provide a complete view of an applicant’s criminal record if they have lived outside the UK.

Employers should make sure they have access to all the information available to them to make a safer recruitment decision. You can read about how to get a criminal record check for overseas applicants, or those who have previously lived outside the UK, on the Home Office website.

Registered employers can order blank application forms through the multiple online tracking tool, or by calling us.

  1. Responsible Organisations
  2. Basic check guidance and policies
  3. DBS checks: guidance for employers
  4. DBS code of practice
  5. DBS home-based positions guide
  6. Statutory disclosure guidance
  7. DBS application form: countersignatories guide
  8. E-bulk: submitting multiple applications for DBS checking
  9. DBS unusual addresses guidance
  10. DBS sample policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders
  11. Guidelines for the lead countersignatory application form
  12. Guidelines for the countersignatory application form
  13. Handling of DBS certificate information

DBS application form: continuation sheet

This form can be used if you can’t fit all of your information on the DBS application form.

  1. DBS continuation sheet

ID checking guidelines

The below guidance will help organisations registered with us, to validate the identity of a DBS check applicant and/or a new countersignatory or lead countersignatory.

  1. DBS ID checking guidelines
Published 17 October 2013
Last updated 11 November 2013 + show all updates
  1. Added the new e-guide for completing the DBS application form.

  2. First published.