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DBS say that employers need to use the new DBS application forms

We’re pleased to hear that the DBS has today sent out a news update about their application forms, following Unlock’s complaint to the ICO.

In March 2014, the DBS announced that they were changing the question on their application form after a complaint by Unlock to the ICO. The complaint was about the DBS’s failure to promptly update their application form after ‘filtering’ came into force in May 2013.

In response to the complaint, the DBS updated the question they asked about criminal records, so that it made reference to ‘filtering‘, meaning that people with cautions and convictions didn’t need to disclose a caution or conviction when applying for a DBS check if it would be filtered.

Unfortunately, even after they took this action, we were still receiving calls to our Helpline from individuals who were applying for jobs, volunteering and university courses where they’d been given an old DBS form. This old form asked about “all convictions and cautions”. In one example we dealt with, a University was insisting that the individual disclose her conviction from 15 years ago, even though it was now filtered and so didn’t need to be disclosed. Although we eventually managed to resolve this issue, there were clearly still problems.

The main problem was that, although in March 2014 the DBS updated their form, they didn’t require registered bodies to use the new forms. This meant that many were still using the old form, causing lots of confusion about what individuals should and shouldn’t disclosed.

We raised this issue with the DBS, and the ICO, following our original complaint, and we are pleased that the DBS has now responded by making it clear that registered bodies need to use the new form, as well as sending these new forms to registered bodies for them to use.

The DBS has also produced an “Application form insert” which should be given to applicants who are doing DBS checks. This helps to explain to individuals what ‘filtering’ means, and helps to make it clear what individuals do and don’t have to disclose when applying for a role that involves a DBS check.


If you’re an employer, find out more useful information here.

If you’re an individual, find out more useful information here.



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Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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