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Explains what a DBS check is, and what you can do if you are unhappy with the information held about you by the police, including information about your mental health.
There are a number of types of job that require a DBS check, and the different levels of check can be required for different reasons.
For example, if your job involves regular work with children or vulnerable adults, you will be required to have a standard or enhanced DBS check, possibly with a children’s and adults’ barred list check. Your prospective employer will tell you if a DBS check is needed for your job and, if so, what level of check is required.
An organisation cannot decide that standard or enhanced DBS checks are required for every person it employs. The decision about whether these sorts of DBS check are needed has to be based on the nature and responsibilities of each individual role. The employer is legally responsible checking that that the role you are applying for is eligible for these sorts of DBS check.
An employer can decide that a basic DBS check is required for any job, so there are a large number of jobs that may require a basic DBS check.
For some jobs, a standard or enhanced check will always be required – for example:
Some jobs in particular settings will also always require a DBS check – for example:
There are also jobs that require a DBS check when you enter the profession – for example:
There is guidance on what jobs require a standard DBS check available on the gov.uk website. This website also has guidance on what jobs require an enhanced DBS check. These documents do not provide a list of specific jobs which may be affected, but the charity Unlock has produced a list of the level of DBS check likely to be required for various jobs.
If you have been asked by a prospective employer to have a standard or enhanced DBS check but you don’t think the job requires one, you can ask the Disclosure and Barring Service to investigate. There is a guide to help you with this investigation process on the gov.uk website (scroll down to the section headed 'For applicants').
DBS checks are carried out on voluntary roles in the same ways as paid roles – the only difference is that there is no charge for checking someone for a voluntary role. If the voluntary role involves regular unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults, a standard or enhanced DBS check will be required.
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 that you got for a previous job, or ask you to get another DBS check.
A child is a person under the age of 18.See our full list of legal terms.
A person is considered a 'vulnerable adult' if they:
This is a check of your criminal record which will show details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on central police records (apart from protected convictions and cautions).See our full list of legal terms.
This is a check of your criminal record which will show details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings held on central police records (apart from protected convictions and cautions) plus additional information held on local police records that is reasonably considered relevant to the job in question.See our full list of legal terms.
This is the document issued following an application to the DBS for a criminal records check. It will contain the personal information you have provided and the result of the checks undertaken.See our full list of legal terms.
This information was published in November 2018. We will revise it in 2020.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.