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.
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:
- Social workers
- 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:
- Children's home
There are also jobs that require a DBS check when you enter the profession. For example:
- Veterinary surgeons (vets)
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.
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.
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.
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.
A child is a person under the age of 18.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
A person is considered a 'vulnerable adult' if they:
- are aged 18 or over
- need community care services because of a disability, age or illness, and
- are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.
Standard DBS check
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).Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
Enhanced DBS check
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.Visit our full listing 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.Visit our full listing of Legal Terms
This information was published in December 2022. We will revise it in 2025.
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