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Latest news about the Disclosure and Barring Service

Over the course of the next 12 months the Disclosure and Barring Service are planning to introduce several changes that might be important to people with convictions.

Basic criminal record checks

From autumn 2017, you will be able to apply to the DBS for a basic criminal record check if you live or work in England or Wales.

These checks are currently managed by Disclosure Scotland who will continue to process them for anyone living or working in Scotland.

A basic criminal record check shows unspent cautions and convictions and is used by many employers as part of their recruitment process. If you’re self-employed you can apply for a basic check for yourself.

There’ll be more details on this over the next couple of months, and we’ll post these under the basic tag.

Standard and enhanced criminal record checks

The DBS intend to introduce online standard and enhanced checks which will allow employers and organisations to:

  • Create an online account with the DBS
  • Manage DBS applications online
  • Track the progress of DBS applications online and do status checks

Standard and enhanced checks show spent and unspent convictions (other than those which are eligible for filtering), plus additional information that the police may hold.

You can use the DBS eligibility tool to establish which criminal record check is right for the job you’re applying for.

DBS compliance visits

The DBS will soon be starting a programme of work which will involve assessing the levels of compliance for all Registered Bodies (RB’s). By using responses to self assessment questionnaires and data from applications that have been submitted, together with inspection visits Registered Bodies who are non-compliant will be identified.

The DBS state that they will provide support and guidance to those non-compliant RB’s, but will take steps to suspend or cancel RB’s who are unable to comply with the obligations set out in the DBS Code of Practice.

Hopefully, this will mean that we will see less RB’s requesting ineligible checks which can result in an RB receiving information they are not legally entitled to see and possibly an applicant being inappropriately investigated for trying to work in an activity they are barred from.

If you’ve come across an organisation that you believe has carried out an ineligible check please let us know by emailing with the details.

For more information

  1. For practical self-help information – More information is available on our criminal record checks for employment section.
  2. Questions – If you have any questions about this, you can contact our helpline.
  3. Policy – Read about the policy work we’re doing on stopping unlawful/ineligible DBS checks.


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

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