Individual Basic DBS Checks typically complete in less than 48 hours. Results can be emailed whilst waiting for the certificate copy to arrive in the post.




Employers Basic DBS Checks typically complete in less than 48 hours. Results can be emailed whilst waiting for the certificate copy to arrive in the post.


DBS Check – What Is It?

DBS checks are sometimes known as disclosure checks. They were previously called Criminal Records Bureau, or CRB checks. The check looks at any criminal history someone has, whether cautions or convictions. The agency which runs the checks is called the Disclosure and Barring Service, with similar organisations providing the same service in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The individual receives a disclosure certificate in the post, which they can then show to their employer.

Does Everyone Need a DBS Check?

Not every role falls under the DBS system. The types of jobs which need a certificate, and the level of check needed, is set by law. However, if you are planning on a career working with children, or vulnerable adults such as the ill or elderly, then a DBS check will almost certainly be required. Employers don’t have the freedom to make their own decisions about what DBS checks to carry out, and on which roles. All the employer can do is look at the legal guidelines, and apply them to their organisation. A basic DBS check, which is a check of your current unspent criminal record can be carried out for any employee or volunteer. The more detailed standard or enhanced checks only apply to certain types of job, such as:
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Childminders and nursery staff
  • Lawyers and Barristers
  • Accountants
  • Teachers
  • Foster Parents
  • Social Workers
  • Vets or Dentists
Volunteers in places like schools, hospitals or care homes will need a DBS check too. The DBS system only applies to employees and volunteers over the age of 16.  

DBS Application Process

The idea behind a DBS check is to assess the suitability of a candidate against a specific job. Therefore, only organisations or employers can request the more detailed checks. Individuals can only ask for a basic check on themselves. If your employer has asked for a standard or enhanced disclosure, the same process always applies.
  • 1. Get an application form from your employer, or complete the application form online.
  • 2. Fill in the form.
  • 3. Show a selection of identity documents (passport, driving licence, utility bills) to whoever is requesting the DBS check.
  • 4. Employer submits the form to the DBS, directly or through an third party “umbrella” organisation.
  • 5. The DBS look at the Police National Computer to record information on a certificate for a basic DBS check. For enhanced disclosures, the forms are sent off for further checking by Police forces around the country.
  • 6. The certificate is posted to the applicant, not their employer or organisation which has requested the check.
Unless you’re working for an employer such as the NHS which requests thousands of checks each year, you will probably apply for your check through an umbrella organisation. These umbrella companies can help process applications for companies or charities which aren’t themselves big enough to register with the Disclosure and Barring Service. Using a third party company is a cost-effective and efficient way of managing a company’s DBS checks.  

Processing Times for DBS Checks

As each application is different, it’s impossible to give an exact timescale for the return of a DBS check. Enhanced checks take longer as there is more detail to be considered, and these checks can take as long as eight weeks to process. This is because checks have to be carried out on each address where the applicant has lived over the last five years, and police forces may pass applications onto other forces if they think it’s relevant. Often, umbrella companies have the expertise to turn around checks more quickly, as they can spot errors on forms before they are submitted, and know the common application pitfalls.  

DBS Appeals

It’s unusual to receive a DBS certificate with mistakes on it, but it does happen occasionally. Applicants have the right to appeal if there is a mistake in either their personal details, or the information contained on the form. Employers and applicants have a three month period in which to lodge any appeal after receiving their certificate.