Employers can check the criminal records of employees or potential employees to help make safer recruitment decisions.
The following stages outline the steps employers need to take before starting the verification of evidence for your employee's disclosure and barring service (DBS) application.
The applicant should have completed their form online. As a manager or verifier, use this guidance to verify evidence to support the application (pdf / 261 KB). You will need to meet the applicant face-to-face to check the original documentary evidence against the list of acceptable evidence. Guidance for verifiers and the list of acceptable evidence can be found in the identity check guidance for verifiers (pdf / 317 KB) document.
Once the employee / applicant verification is complete, you must complete and return the verification form for paid roles (xlsx / 58 KB) by uploading it to the relevant eform below. Please use this form for paid roles only.
To help you identify the type of check your applicant requires, guidance can be found on the GOV.UK - eligibility guidance for enhanced DBS checks including regulated activity and GOV.UK - DBS eligibility guidance pages. The eligibility tool on the GOV.UK - find out if you can check someone's criminal record page may also be helpful.
If the applicant is applying for a volunteer role, see the volunteer verification section below for further information and to complete the correct verification form.
If you have difficulties uploading the form, please email it to our employment support service.
On completion, you will be notified of the result by email. The applicant will get a copy of the certificate through the post (only one copy is issued now, employers no longer receive a copy).
It is important to note that once we send a DBS check to DBS National, the time for the check to come back can vary from days to months. The time taken for a DBS to come back is out of our control. The time taken to process a DBS check depends on the level of check, if the details provided are accurate and which / how many police forces need to be involved in the check. It is very common for applications from applicants who have had several name changes or have moved to various addresses to take longer.
Applications cannot be chased or escalated unless they have been at stage 4 (records held by the police search) for 60 days or more. Applicants are able to escalate them by using the link they receive in their email once they have reached 60 days.
If the applicant is unable to provide at least one document from group one from the list of acceptable documents (see stage 1 information above), an external ID check is required.
You should send a copy of all the evidence you have for the applicant to our employment support service. We will carry out the external ID check for you. You cannot proceed with the DBS application until this has been completed. If the check fails to be authenticated, the applicant may need to complete a paper form.
DBS will only provide information for the UK, so foreign nationals or anyone who has lived outside the UK will also need to provide a certificate of good conduct.
If you have a positive certificate from an applicant, you will need to authenticate the document to ensure it has the appropriate security marks:
- a crown seal watermark repeated down the right hand side of the certificate which is visible both on the surface and when holding the certificate up to a light source.
- a background design incorporating the word "disclosure", which appears in a wave-like pattern across both sides of the document. The colour of this pattern is uniform across the front of the certificate, but alternates between pink and green on the reverse.
- ink and paper will change black in the presence of water or solvent-based liquid.
When you are satisfied, you should sign to certify it is a genuine copy, scan and send it to employment support within seven days of our notification to obtain.
You will be contacted once a decision has been made on the outcome. A new candidate should not be allowed to start work without all clearances.
DBS volunteer verification for managers
The DBS will allow a free DBS application to be submitted for certain roles only. To be eligible for a free check, the position applied for must meet the definition of a volunteer:
A person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than or in addition to a close relative.
To help you determine whether the role meets the definition, please answer the following questions:
- Is the applicant on a work placement or undertaking a course of study that will lead to a qualification/full-time role?
- Is the applicant a paid foster carer or member of foster carer household?
- Is the applicant benefitting financially from the role they are undertaking (except for travel and other approved out of pocket expenses)?
If your answer is 'Yes' to any of the above questions the role does not meet the definition of a volunteer and is therefore not eligible for a free check. In this case do not complete the verification form for volunteers. You should complete the verification form for paid roles instead - see stage 2 above.
If you have answered 'No' to all of the questions, complete and return the verification form for volunteers (xlsx / 63 KB) via the relevant form:
When a registered body submits an inappropriate volunteer application, it creates a financial burden on other fee-paying applicants, and is in contravention of the registered body conditions of registration. National DBS will take action if they believe that inappropriate volunteer applications are being submitted knowingly.
- Roles previously recorded as 'volunteer classroom assistant' or 'volunteer teaching assistant' which are used to describe a situation where a student in coming in to school to mentor/tutor children and that are being carried out as part of a qualification/course are not volunteer roles. The reason for this is that the student is going to gain a qualification. If this applies do not complete the verification form for volunteers. Please complete the verification form for paid roles - see stage 2 above and record this as 'work experience' instead.
- Roles where there is no benefit to the student in terms of a qualification and the only benefit is to the school would meet the definition of a volunteer. In this case you should complete the verification form for volunteers and record this as 'school volunteer helper'.
- Roles including 'parent helper in school' or 'school trip helper', where the school are the only party who are benefiting and the person is helping out are eligible as volunteer roles. In these cases you should complete the verification form for volunteers and record these as 'school volunteer helper'.
- Volunteer transport companies such as Dial-a-Ride who transport individuals to receive social care or health care or to transport children to school, and receive no recompense are eligible volunteer roles. In this case you should complete the verification form for volunteers and record this as 'volunteer driver school/social care' or 'passenger assist school/social care'.
- Foster carers and members of the same household aged over 18 years. This activity is voluntary, but foster carers usually receive payment for these activities and therefore it is deemed that neither foster carers nor other members of the household are entitled to free checks. If this applies, do not complete the verification form for volunteers. Please complete the verification form for paid roles instead - see stage 2 above.