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Standard DBS checks

Everything you need to know about standard DBS checks

What are standard checks

Standard checks (officially known as Standard 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 (DBS) 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 can request standard checks. This includes for example, people wanting to be approved by the Security Industry Authority or anybody applying to become a solicitor or barrister. We have more information on the eligibility for standard and enhanced checks.

What information does it contain?

A standard certificate will include both spent and unspent convictions[1], held on the PNC which are not eligible for filtering. For each conviction, it will include:

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

How standard checks are applied for

It is not possible to apply for a standard check on yourself.

An employer can only request a standard 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 a standard 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 the check has been 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 £18 (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 10 working days

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 a standard certificate

Standard copy 1

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 will need to raise a data entry dispute with the DBS. Further details can be found on the DBS website.

However, if your conviction details are incorrect or inaccurate, you will need to raise a data source dispute. This can be done online (you complete the form electronically, print it out and then submit it by post). Alternatively, you can request a dispute form by post by ringing the DBS on 03000 200 190.

DBS Subject Access Requests

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. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.

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