for better mental health

DBS checks and your mental health

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.

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 five years and the dates you lived there
  • your National Insurance number
  • a debit or a credit card
  • your passport
  • your driving licence.

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

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

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

  • You are offered a job which requires a 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 emplyer submits the form to the Disclosure and Barring Service (directly or via an umbrella body).
  • The DBS check is carried out.
  • A search of the Police National Computer is carried out. If it is an enhanced DBS check, a search of local police records will also be carried out. A search of children's and adults' barred lists may also be undertaken if the job involves caring for, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults.
  • The DBS certificate is printed and sent to you (not your employer).

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

Here is a flowchart showing the application process described above.

How long does a DBS check take?

This depends on:

  • the level of check being carried out
  • whether the details provided are correct
  • which police forces are involved in the check (some may have backlogs in processing applications)

If you request a basic DBS check, it will usually take around 14 days for you to receive your certificate.

The process for standard or enhanced DBS checks typically takes around eight weeks, and will be managed by your prospective employer. It can take longer than this if:

  • the details given for the check are incorrect
  • several police forces need to be involved in the check.

How much does a DBS check cost?

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 - £25.
  • Standard DBS checks - £26.
  • Enhanced DBS checks (including or excluding barred list check) - £44.
  • DBS checks for most volunteering roles are free of charge.

Can I get any help filling out my application form?

There is a guide to completing the DBS application form available on the gov.uk website.

This information was published in November 2018. We will revise it in 2021.

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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