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European criminal record checks


In November 2015, the Disclosure and Barring Service launched a pilot to test access to criminal record information from the European Union (EU). The trial will run until April 2016.

The pilot is the first of its kind for the UK Government and will be jointly run by the Disclosure and Barring Service, the Home Office and the UK Central Authority (UKCA). The pilot will concentrate on enhanced disclosure checks for any individual seeking to work with children and where the nationality on the application form indicates they are a Dutch or Latvian national. The Netherlands and Latvia have expressed their support for this initiative.

Why are the DBS doing this?

Currently, the DBS cannot guarantee that the criminal records, from the country of origin for overseas applicants, are available to prospective employers. Whilst the DBS provides employers with guidance on how to access certificates of good conduct from countries outside the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that this is consistently accessed and used.

The pilot will enable employers access to relevant criminal record information (via the DBS) for any applicant from the Netherlands or Latvia. This will include applicants with dual nationality in one of these countries.

The pilot is expected to affect 3,500 applications over the course of the six month period.

Upgrade to ECRIS

In addition to this, the European Commission has just put forward proposals to upgrade the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS) in order to facilitate the exchange of criminal records of non-EU citizens. It believes that this will improve cooperation between national authorities in the fight against terrorism and other forms of serious cross border crime.

For more information relating to convictions obtained overseas see here.


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

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