Guidance

Basic checks

Guidance regarding basic checks, including how to apply and the information disclosed on a basic certificate.

Documents

Rehabilitation periods

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email communications@dbs.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Details

A basic check is a criminal record check that you can request for yourself. You may also be asked to request a basic check by your employer.

A basic check can be used for any position or purpose.

A basic check is £25. Most basic checks will be processed within 14 days.

This basic check guidance consists of the following sections:

  1. How to apply for a basic check
  2. Information disclosed on a basic check certificate
  3. Transgender applications
  4. Consent
  5. Withdrawing a basic check application
  6. DBS online account
  7. Update Service
  8. Disputing the information on your basic check certificate
  9. If you need your Post Office letter to be re-sent to you

How to apply for a basic check

DBS provides this service if you’re living or working in England or Wales. There are two ways to apply for a basic check:

  1. You can apply directly through DBS using our online application route. As part of your application you’ll need to prove your identity through GOV.UK Verify

  2. Alternatively, you can apply through a Responsible Organisation - an organisation registered with DBS to submit basic check applications

Your employer can also request a basic check for you if they have your consent, via a Responsible Organisation.

If you live or work in Scotland, you should apply to Disclosure Scotland. If you live or work in Northern Ireland, you should apply to AccessNI.

Information disclosed on a basic certificate

A basic check will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be unspent under the terms if the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 aims to give those with convictions or cautions the chance - in certain circumstances - to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

Under the Act, eligible convictions or cautions become ‘spent’ after a specified period of time known as the ‘rehabilitation period’, the length of which varies depending on how the individual was dealt with.

You can refer to the table showing rehabilitation periods attached at the top of this page, and read the relevant extract from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Transgender applications

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) offers a confidential checking service for transgender applicants in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

More information can be found here.

You’ll need to provide consent to the Responsible Organisation to submit and process your application on your behalf, and for them to receive a notification with the outcome of your basic check. When you apply, you can also choose if you would like to give consent for the Responsible Organisation or a third party, such as an employer, to view your electronic certificate.

If there are convictions which need to be included on your certificate, DBS will remove any consent if you previously provided it. This means that the Responsible Organisation or third party will not be able to view your electronic certificate and you can decide if you want to show it to them.

For more information regarding consent, read the Basic DBS check Privacy Policy here.

Withdrawing a basic check application

You can ask to withdraw your application online if you are logged in to your DBS online account. Alternatively, if you do not have a DBS online account, you can contact us. DBS will however be unable to withdraw a basic check once the certificate is ready for issue.

DBS online account

If you don’t already have one, you will be invited to create a DBS online account after applying for a basic check. You can use your online account to apply for, and manage, products and services available to you as an individual. This includes viewing your own basic certificate online and giving consent to third parties to view it. You can also get in touch with us by using webchat or sending an enquiry.

Update Service

Currently the Update Service is only available for standard and enhanced checks. You cannot use the Update Service for basic checks.

Disputing the information on your basic check certificate

You can raise a dispute about the content of your basic certificate if any of the following apply:

  • personal information is incorrect, such as a name or place of birth
  • incorrect information on the conviction details
  • the conviction details do not belong to you

You can use your DBS online account to raise a dispute related to your basic check certificate.

If you need your Post Office letter to be re-sent to you

If you need to validate your identity at the Post Office as part of your application for a basic DBS check, you will receive an email with a link to a letter you need to print.

You’ll need to take the letter and your identity documents to a Post Office that has the DBS ID validation service, within 14 days.

If you haven’t received the email within 24 hours, check your spam or junk folders. If you still can’t find the email we can resend it to you. You’ll need to email dbsbasicenquiries@dbs.gov.uk with the following details:

  • your name
  • your date of birth
  • your payment reference number
  • the last 4 digits on the card you paid with

If it has been more than 14 days since you made your application we can’t resend the email. Instead we will delete your application and refund your £25 fee in full.

Published 4 September 2017
Last updated 20 September 2018 + show all updates
  1. Email addresses updated in line with recent changes.
  2. Information added regarding transgender applications.
  3. Information added regarding non-receipt of Post Office letters.
  4. Link to Basic DBS Check Privacy Policy added, advising applicants to read this before applying for information regarding consent.
  5. Information added regarding the Update Service being for standard and enhanced checks only, and an employer's ability to carry out a basic check.
  6. Information updated in line with the DBS' new online application for basic checks.
  7. First published.