Disclosure and barring service information for managers

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.

Stage one

The applicant should have completed their form online. As a manager or verifier, use this guidance to verify evidence to support the application.

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 document.

Further information and guidance can be found on the government website.

Stage two

Once the employee/applicant verification has been completed, you must complete and return the  managers verification form for paid roles (xlsx / 67 KB). Please use this form for paid roles only. You can return the form online.

Submit a verification form online

Please use the relevant online form to upload your verification forms.




For help identifying the type of check your applicant requires eligibility guidance for enhanced DBS checks including regulated activity information can be found on the government’s website. You will also find DBS eligibility guidance pages on the government’s website.

To find out if you can check someone’s criminal record, please use the eligibility tool on the government’s website.

Volunteer roles

If the applicant is applying for a volunteer role, please see the volunteer verification section below for further information and complete the correct verification form.

Please contact us if you require any further help.

Stage three

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 as 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 four (records held by the police search) for 60 days or more. Applicants can escalate them by using the link they receive in their email once they have reached 60 days.

Further information

Evidence to prove identity

If the applicant is unable to provide at least one document from group one from the list of acceptable documents (please see stage one 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. Find our details on the contact us page. 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.

Authenticating a certificate

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 it. Find our details on the contact us page.

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.

Criteria for meeting the volunteer definition

To help you determine whether the role meets the definition, please answer the following questions:

  1. Is the applicant on a work placement or undertaking a course of study that will lead to a qualification/full-time role?
  2. Is the applicant a paid foster carer or a member of a foster carer household?
  3. 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 two above.

If you have answered 'No' to all of the questions, please complete and return the  manager verification form for volunteers (xlsx / 68 KB).

Please upload verification forms to the relevant eform below

Schools - Submit a DBS verification request

Managers/contractors - Submit a DBS verification request

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.

Useful examples

Roles previously recorded as 'volunteer classroom assistant' or 'volunteer teaching assistant' are used to describe a situation where a student is coming into school to mentor/tutor children and that is being carried out as part of a qualification/course are not volunteering 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 two 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 a '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 helping out are eligible for 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 for 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 two above