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DBS checks and your mental health

Explains what a DBS check is, and what you can do if you are unhappy with the information the police hold about you. This includes any information about your mental health.

What types of job require a DBS check?

There are lots of type of job that require a DBS check. And employers may require different levels of check for different reasons.

For example, if your job involves regular work with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to have a standard or enhanced DBS check. This might need to include a children's and adults' barred list check.

The employer will tell you if you need a DBS check for any job you apply for. If you need one, they will tell you what level of check is required.

For some jobs, a standard or enhanced check will always be required. For example:

  • Teachers
  • Social workers
  • Childminders
  • Foster carers
  • Medical professionals

Some jobs in particular settings will also always require a DBS check. For example if you apply for a job in a:

  • School
  • Children's home
  • Hospital

There are also jobs that require a DBS check when you enter the profession. For example:

  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Veterinary surgeons (vets)
  • Accountants

An employer can decide whether any job requires a DBS check. So there are lots of jobs that may require a basic DBS check. 

But a job must meet certain criteria for an employer to ask for a standard or enhanced DBS check. It is the employer's responsibility to check whether a role is eligible for standard or enhanced checks.

If you are unsure whether you need to get a DBS check for a particular job, you can contact the Disclosure and Barring Service. Employers can use the DBS's online eligibility checking tool to check whether a role needs a DBS check.

The charity Unlock also has a list of which DBS check you are likely to need for various jobs.

What if I disagree with needing a DBS check?

If an employer has asked you to have a standard or enhanced DBS check but you don't think the job needs one, you can ask the Disclosure and Barring Service to investigate. Unlock has information on how to challenge an ineligible DBS check.

When does a DBS check happen?

A DBS check should only happen once an employer offers you a job. 

What if I'm a volunteer?

DBS checks happen for voluntary roles in the same ways as paid roles. The only difference is that it doesn't cost any money to check someone for a voluntary role. For paid roles, your employer will usually pay the cost of the DBS check. 

If the voluntary role involves regular unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults, you will need to have a standard or enhanced DBS check.

What if I change jobs?

A DBS check does not expire. But it is only accurate at the date the check is carried out. It is up to your new employer to decide whether to accept a DBS certificate from a previous job, or ask you to get another DBS check.

This information was published in December 2022. We will revise it in 2025. 

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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