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Enhanced DBS checks

Everything you need to know about enhanced DBS checks

What are enhanced checks?

Enhanced checks (officially known as Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates) are a type of criminal record check that can be used by employers when recruiting staff for jobs which are included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

They are issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service using information from the Police National Computer (PNC).

What are they used for?

Employers recruiting for certain positions which are included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, as well as those being “prescribed” in regulations made under s113B, Part V of the Police Act 1997 can request enhanced checks. The majority of these positions will include frequent or intensive contact with children or vulnerable adults, for example teachers, doctors or social workers.

We have further information here on eligibility.

What information do they contain?

An enhanced certificate will include both spent and unspent convictions[1], held on the PNC which are not eligible for filtering, as well as information as to whether the person is included in a list of people barred from working in regulated activity in relation to children and / or adults (if eligible and requested ).

For each conviction, it will include:

  • the date of conviction
  • details of the court in which you appeared
  • details of the offence committed
  • the date of the offence
  • the sentence/disposal given.

It also includes any relevant information held on local police records.

How enhanced checks are applied for

It is not possible to apply for an enhanced check on yourself.

An employer can only request an enhanced check if the role applied for is eligible. If the employer carries out less than 100 checks per year, they will use a registered body (acting as an umbrella body) to apply for the check on their behalf. An employer will need your consent before they can apply for an enhanced check.

Applications can be made by post or online.

Online applications

The majority of registered bodies sign up to the DBS e-bulk service which allows them to submit applications and receive the results electronically. This generally reduces the time it takes for the check to be processed.

Once processed, the DBS will immediately send a notification to the registered body.

  • Where the DBS certificate contains information the registered body will receive an electronic notification to “await the paper certificate”.
  • Where all fields on the DBS certificate are blank, the registered body will receive an electronic notification which will state “Certificate contains no information”.

The DBS will send the certificate directly to you.

What’s the cost?

The cost of the check is £38 (free to volunteers) although there is often a charge by an umbrella body to undertake the check on behalf of an employer, if the employer is not a registered body

How long does it take?

Approximately 28 days

However, It can take a lot longer than this, especially if one of the larger police forces (for example the Metropolitan Police) are dealing with disclosure under the ‘relevant information’ section. If the local police force have not provided information to the DBS within 60 days, the DBS can escalate your application.

You can make a request after 60 days to have your application escalated by contacting the DBS on 03000 200 190 or by using their online tracking system.

Where will it be sent?

The certificate will usually be sent to you unless you have signed a waiver, requesting it to be sent to your employer.

An anonymous example of an enhanced certificate


First Enhanced Certificate page 1
Click on the image above to view the first two pages of an enhanced DBS certificate

Wording at the bottom of an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate

Enhanced Certificate

This document is an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate within the meaning of section 113B and 116 of the Police Act 1997.

Use of certificate information

The information contained in this certificate is confidential and all recipients must keep it secure and protect it from loss or unauthorised access. This certificate must only be used in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service’s (DBS), Code of Practice and any other guidance issued by the DBS. Particular attention must be given to the guidance in the fair use of the information in respect of those whose certificate reveals a conviction or similar information. The DBS will monitor the compliance of Registered Bodies with the Code of Practice and other guidance.

This certificate is issued in accordance with Part V of the Police Act 1997, which creates a number of offences. These offences include forgery or alteration of certificates, obtaining certificates under false pretences, and using a certificate issued to another person as if it was one’s own.

This certificate is not evidence of the identity of the bearer, nor does it establish a person’s entitlement to work in the UK.

Certificate content

The personal details contained in this certificate are those supplied by or on behalf of the person to whom the certificate relates at the time the application was made and that appear to match any conviction or other details linked to that identity.

The information contained in this certificate is derived from police records, and from records held on those who are unsuitable to work with children and/or adults where indicated. The police records are those held on the Police National Computer (PNC), that contains details of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings in England and Wales, and most of the relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included. The DBS reserves the right to add new data sources. For the most up to date list of data sources which are searched by the DBS please visit the DBS website.

The other relevant information is disclosed at the discretion of the Chief Police Officers or those of an equivalent level in other policing agencies, who have been approached by the DBS, with due regard to the position sought by the person to whom the certificate relates.

Certificate accuracy

The DBS is not responsible for the accuracy of police records.

If the person to whom this certificate relates is aware of any inaccuracy in the information contained in this certificate, he or she should contact the Countersignatory immediately , in order to prevent an inappropriate decision being made on their suitability. This Countersignatory will advise how to dispute that information, and if requested arrange for it to be referred to the DBS on their behalf.The information should be disputed within 3 months of the date of issue of the certificate.

The DBS will seek to resolve the matter with the source of the record and the person to whom the certificate relates. In some circumstances it may only be possible to resolve a dispute using fingerprints, for which consent of the person to whom the certificate relates will be required.

If the DBS upholds the dispute a new certificate will be issued free of charge. Details of the DBS’s disputes and complaints procedure can be found on the DBS’s website.

What can you do if the certificate contains incorrect or inaccurate information?

If your certificate contains inaccurate personal information, for example your name, date of birth or address, you need to raise a data entry dispute with the DBS.

However, if your conviction details are incorrect or inaccurate, you need to raise a data source dispute. This can be done online (you complete the form electronically, print and submit it by post) or call 03000 200 190 for a form.

DBS Subject Access Request

You’re entitled to know if the DBS holds any information about you and if so, to be provided with a copy of that information. This process is referred to as a Subject Access Request.


[1] Use of the word ‘convictions’ in this case refers to convictions, cautions, warnings and final reprimands. It does not include fixed penalty notices, penalty notices for disorder, or any other police or other out-of-court disposal.

More information

  1. For practical information – More information can be found at criminal record checks for employment
  2. To discuss this issue with others – Read and share your experiences on our online forum
  3. Question – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

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