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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 is the application process for a basic DBS check?

You can apply online for a basic DBS check by completing an online application form. To complete this form you will need:

  • A list of all of your addresses for the last 5 years and the dates you lived there
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A debit or a credit card
  • Your passport
  • Your driving licence

You can also apply through a Responsible Organisation. These are organisations approved by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to help you submit your basic DBS check, and make sure that it includes all of the correct information. The UK government website has information about what Responsible Organisations can do to help, and has a list of Responsible Organisations.

If you give your consent to your employer, they can also apply for a basic DBS check on your behalf.

What is the application process for a standard or enhanced DBS check?

Here is the process for a standard or enhanced DBS check:

  • An employer offers you a job which requires a standard or enhanced DBS check.
  • Your employer gives you a DBS check application form.
  • You complete the DBS check form and return it to your employer, with documents to prove your identity.
  • Your employer submits the form to the DBS.
  • The DBS does your check. This includes searching the Police National Computer.
  • If it is an enhanced DBS check, the DBS will also search local police records.
  • If the job involves caring for, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults, the DBS may also search children's and adults' barred lists. These are lists of people who are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.
  • The DBS sends you a DBS certificate with your results of the check. It does not send this to your employer. 

Flowchart: What is the application process for a standard or enhanced DBS check?

Here is a flowchart showing the application process described above.

How long does a DBS check take?

It usually takes 14 days to process a DBS check. But it can take longer if:

  • You give any incorrect details for the check
  • Several police forces need to be involved in the check

The timing can also depend on:

  • The level of check being carried out
  • Which police forces are involved in the check, as some may have backlogs in processing applications

How much does a DBS check cost?

If you need to have a standard, enhanced or enhanced with list DBS check, your employer will pay for it. Your employer may pay for you to have a basic DBS check, but you can also request and pay for this yourself.

The costs for each check are as follows:

  • Basic DBS checks - £18
  • Standard DBS checks - £18
  • Enhanced DBS checks (including or excluding barred list check) - £38
  • DBS checks for most volunteering roles are free of charge

Can I get any help filling out my application form?

The UK government has a guide to completing the DBS application form. Or you could call the DBS helpline on 03000 200 190.

You could also contact a Responsible Organisation to support you with a basic DSB check. If you need a standard or enhanced check, your employer should support you with this.

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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