Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Provided below is a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQ) and their answers. If your question does not appear below, please contact us and where a member of our team will be able to assist you

What does DBS stand for?

DBS is short for ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’. This is an agency part of the UK Home Office which carries out specific checks on individuals.

What is a DBS check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service check (or DBS check for short) is the term used for the analysis and record of a person’s past, looking specifically at any convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings they may have received. In some instances the DBS run checks against the adult and children’s barred list, depending on the role of an individual or the job for which they are applying.

DBS checks, also known as disclosures, may also include soft intelligence held by the police. This information is not always contained within the Police National Computer (PNC). For example, a person may not have been convicted of a particular offense but a local police force may have intelligence which should be disclosed as it may affect the suitability of a person for a particular job.

These services were previously known as Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks, but have been known as DBS checks since December 2012.

What is the difference between a CRB and a DBS check?

There is no difference between a CRB and DBS check.

After the publication of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 many changes were brought about. One of which was the coming together and merge of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), under the new title of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The new entity took on the responsibilities of the previous fractions and continued to complete the checks and functions, apart from the discontinued ISA Registration Scheme.

Therefore, in its simplest of terms this was a rebranding of the organisation.

What if my disclosure certificate was completed by the CRB not the DBS?

This does not necessarily mean a new DBS check is required. The requirement for DBS check may be dictated by your employer or regulator. Simply because your certificate shows the CBS logo rather the DBS logo does not necessarily make this out of date.

Are there different types of criminal checks?

Yes. There are three levels of disclosure. The level you require will depend on the job and the contact of care you will provide. These levels of disclosure are:

Basic level disclosure – this is a non-specific check that is available to anyone who requires certification. Basically, it is available to anyone for any purpose. It is commonly used for personal licence holders, couriers or similar. Disclosure Scotland produce this level of Disclosure as well as the DBS from June 2017.

Standard level disclosure – this level of disclosure is subject to eligibility in accordance to legislative criteria. This more in-depth check is often required for careers such as accountants or solicitors.*

Enhanced level disclosure – this detailed check is also subject to eligibility in accordance to legislative criteria. Individuals who wish to work with vulnerable people will require this disclosure.*

Enhanced level disclosure and barred list check – the most comprehensive of all disclosure checks, this disclosure will also look at the barred lists. This is necessary for an individual intending on working in a ‘regulated position’ where they have a duty of care and responsibility for vulnerable people.

Please be advised that standard and enhanced DBS checks are not available to all. This service can only be accessed if the person’s role is supported by legislation. For example, an employer must consider whether they are allowed by law to access this level of criminal information for a particular role.

If you would like to learn more about these types of DBS checks and your eligibility please click here.

How are barred lists accessed?

If you require an enhanced level disclosure and barred list check access must be requested in line with legislation in accordance to the individual’s role.

The barred list can only be accessed when undertaking an enhanced level DBS check. The barred lists cannot be accessed when undertaking a standard level DBS check.

There are three barring lists that are checked:

Adult’s Barred List

Children’s Barred List

List 99 (section 142 Education Act 2002)

Adult’s Barred List – this checks if an applicant has been barred from working with vulnerable adults. This can only be looked at if the applicant will be partaking in certain roles, such as providing adult care or healthcare services.

Children’s Barred List and List 99 (Section 142 Education Act 2002) – These lists are checked if the applicant has been barred from working with children and young people. Like with the Adult’s Barring List, this can only be accessed in reference to a specific job role, such as teaching or the provision of childcare.

The responsibility of ensuring the correct level of disclosure lies with the employer. It is imperative these lists are only accessed in line with the law. An employer should not request access to these lists unless they are legally entitled to do so.

What is the definition of a vulnerable adult?

‘Vulnerable adult’ is a complex term. It was once used to describe a person who is vulnerable due to their age, a disability. However, this was deemed inappropriate and is now defined as a person aged 18 or over who receives one of the following levels of care or support:

Healthcare: if they are a regulated health care professional or are acting under the direction or supervision of one, for example doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and physiotherapists.

Personal care: assistance with washing and dressing, eating, drinking and toileting or teaching someone to do one of those tasks.

Social work: provision by a social care worker of social work which is required in connection with any health services or social services.

Assistance with a person’s cash, bills or shopping because of their age, illness or disability.

Assistance with the conduct of an adult’s own affairs, for example, lasting or enduring powers of attorney, or deputies appointed under the Mental Health Act.

Conveying: conveying adults for reasons of age, illness or disability to, from or between places where they receive healthcare, personal care or social work. This would not include friends or family or taxi drivers.

What is the definition of a child?

A child is an individual under the age of 18 years old, as per Section 60 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.

How long does a disclosure certificate last?

Criminal disclosure certificates do not have expiry dates, they display only an issue date. There is no set period for which they are valid. Some employers believe it is best practice to update their DBS check every 3 years, however this is not the law. In some instances organisations may be dictated to by potential clients or a regulator, in which case new DBS check will be required. However, in general terms, there are no expiry dates to DBS checks…

Is a criminal check portable? Can it be reused?

As previously outlined, there is no validity period on criminal disclosure certificates, so in most instances they can be reused at the discretion of the employer or organisation.

An employer should check that all certificates are the correct level, for the correct workforce and that barred list checks were carried out if necessary.

Although a separate disclosure per employer is not necessary, it is recommended that applicants subscribe to the DBS Update Service to ensure their disclosure is up-to-date at all times. Not doing this may result in complications when attempting to reuse a certificate.

What is the Update Service?

The Update Service is a DBS scheme which registers a disclosure certificate and ensures it is kept up-to-date. An annual subscription to the DBS Update Service may mean an individual will never need another DBS check again.

The individual is responsible for this when submitting an application to the DBS. However, if you use our services we will undertake the registration and complete the management for you. Our system will then automatically alert you via email if any changes are required in the future.

Who can request a DBS check?

Organisations can request for individuals to be checked if they will be working or volunteering in a position that is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This is valid for current staff, job applicants and volunteers.

Can individuals obtain a DBS check on themselves?

No. Individuals cannot request a personal DBS check. DBS checks were designed to aid organisations make recruitment decisions, therefore only an employer or recruitment company may apply.

Here at CBS we can, however, offer a basic level disclosure. This is because these checks are not job specific and, can be used for any purpose.

Should we request DBS checks on our staff?

Whether this is a requirement, or not, will depend on your industry. However, it is recommended that all job applicants, staff and volunteers within an organisation are screened in one way or another. This may not always be a DBS check as the law may not support it. Your organisation may opt to undertake a basic level disclosure only. Alternatively we can provide a host of additional screening products such as BPSS. BS7858, etc.

How long does a DBS check take?

If you decide to request a DBS check using our services, expect a timescale as follows:

85% of enhanced disclosures returned within 5 working days

95% of standard disclosures returned within 5 working days

80% of basic disclosures returned within 10 working days

On rare occasions an application may exceed 60 days. In the unlikely event this happens we can escalate the application along as a priority.

Our average across the UK is 5.4 days for an enhanced DBS check with several thousand being returned in less than 24 hours every month.

Is there a DBS fast track service available?

As stated above, disclosures should take around a week to complete. There are no fast track options available.

If an individual is required to start a role immediately a List 99 or Adult First check may be considered.

List 99 Checks

A List 99 check refers to the access of the Department for School Children and Families (formerly DfES) List 99 database, which details names of those who have been barred or restricted from working with children by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, under the terms of the Education (Restriction of Employment) Regulations 2000.

It will also ascertain if a person is barred from teaching in Northern Ireland or has been removed from the Register of Teachers by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. A List 99 check will also show if an individual is on the Department of Health Protection of Children Act (1999) list, also known as (POCALS), and has been barred by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.

The results of a List 99 check will take just 24hours to be returned. An email notification will be sent detailing the outcome within hours of the application and therefore is popular among organisations that require an individual starts straight away.

DBS Adult First Checks

The Care Standards Act allows the Department of Health to maintain a list of people who are perceived to be a threat to, and should not work with, vulnerable adults. An Adult First Check refers to this, in particular looking at the health sector.

These checks should only be done in exceptional cases when they are absolute necessary. If this is the case, once requested an email will be issued with one of two responses:

Option 1: Employer must wait for the DBS certificate

Option 2: No match exists for this person on the current Vulnerable Adults Barred List

If Option 1 is received, something may have been found, and further investigations may be required to determine if the person is indeed on the barred list.

A DBS Adult First Check issued through CBS will take anywhere up to 2 days, however, most requests are completed within 24hours of submission.

*Checks are not done on weekends or bank holidays.

Who receives the DBS certificate?

Although an organisation requests the disclosure check, the certificate is sent to the applicant’s home address.

Before this is received, you will be sent an online notification stating that the check has been completed and whether any criminal information has been found and held. Our solutions will provide you with a full audit trail and a printable summary of the disclosure check.

What ID documents are required to be validated for a DBS check?

ID is required to be validated with every disclosure check, and there are 4 routes in place for doing this. These can be found here.

We would recommend that Route 1 is taken wherever possible, as this will reduce costs and ensure a timely service. For more information about identity validation please visit:

Who pays for disclosure applications and how is this done?

In most cases the organisation requesting the check will pay for the disclosure. However, here at CBS we can provide an alternative solution whereby we can request payment from the individual directly.

Can I get a free DBS check?

CBS cannot provide DBS checks for free, we will charge an administration fee. However, we can remove the DBS fee from your costs if you or the person you are employing is a volunteer.

What is the definition of a volunteer?

The DBS defines a volunteer in accordance to the Police Act 1997 (criminal records). This states:

Any 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 and not a close relative.

If this is the case, an individual may qualify for a free-of-charge criminal record check. In order to be granted the person must not benefit from the position that the DBS application is being submitted for. They also cannot:

Be on work experience

Receive any payment

Be on a course that required participation

Be a trainee at the organisation

Make sure to tick the designated box of the application if the individual is a volunteer. If not marked correctly the DBS will recover the application fee and the DBS application may be cancelled.

Which workforce category should be selected?

When making a DBS application you will be asked to select a workforce. This will dictate what information is relevant to the role and what details should be disclosed.

These workforces are explained below:

Child workforce – for positions in regulated activity with children, which fall under the pre-September 2012 definition of regulated activity in relation to children or for adult household members where a foster child placement takes place.

Adult workforce – for positions in regulated activity with vulnerable adults, which fall under the pre-September 2012 definition of regulated activity in relation to vulnerable adults or for individuals who manage others participating in these roles.

Child and adult workforce – if a role specifically deals with both children and vulnerable adults.

Other workforce – for roles which require a DBS check but do not deal with children or vulnerable adults. For examples, legal, financial or security services.

What is the definition of a healthcare professional?

The DBS defines a healthcare professional as an individual who is regulated by one of the following professional regulators:

General Medical Council

General Dental Council

General Optical Council

General Osteopathic Council

General Chiropractic Council

General Pharmaceutical Council

Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Health Professions Council

How do I get a DBS check for my personal licence?

You will only need a basic level disclosure for a personal licence. You can apply for this via our website.

What will a DBS check show?

The information displayed varies depending on the level of check you apply for. Standard and enhanced checks will highlight any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands an individual may have. However, the enhanced check will also detail intelligence held by the police if deemed necessary.

If the applicant was an adult (18+ years old) at the time of the offence it may be filtered if:

It has been 11 or more years since the conviction

No other offence has been committed

No custodial sentence was required

The offence in question does not appear on the list relevant to safeguarding

If the applicant was under the age of 18 years old at the time of the offence it may be filtered if:

It has been 5.5 or more years since the conviction

It is the only offence committed

No custodial sentence was required

The offence in question does not appear on the list relevant to safeguarding

Filtering Cautions

The rules are slightly different with cautions. If the applicant was an adult at the time of the caution it may be filtered from results if it has been more than 6 years since the date of the caution and the incident does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding.

If the person was under 18 years of age at the time, the caution may be filtered if it has been 2 or more years since and the incident does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding.

Filtering is a relatively new development, so if you would like to learn more about this service please click here

Can disclosure certificates be reprinted by the DBS?

Yes. If you did not receive the original certificate for whatever reason, you can request a reprint from the DBS directly.

To order your reprint, email

Your forename

Your surname

Your address

Your postcode

Your date of birth

Your place of birth

The date the certificate was issued

If the original certificate was received, but you have lost or damaged it, the DBS will not provide a reprint. Reprints from the DBS can only be requested up to 90 days after they were first issued.

How can I contact the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

If you would like to speak directly to someone at the DBS you can email your query to or give them a call on 0870 909 0811.

How can I contact Disclosure Scotland (DS)?

Contacting the DS is easy. Simply email or call 0870 609 6006.

Can an individual with a criminal record be employed?

Yes. A criminal record does not automatically result in unemployment. A person who has a criminal history would in no way be deemed unsuitable for employment. Nor does a criminal history suggest a person is unsuitable to work with children or vulnerable adults. A DBS certificate and its contents should be considered on its own merit. There are no fixed rules. If you are required to do a DBS check for the purpose of your employment, your potential employer will consider your history carefully and ensure you are not discriminated against for a historic offence that potentially has no connection to the job you wish to undertake.

An employer or organisation may also decide to complete further checks in order to determine the suitability of the applicant for the job role. At CBS we are able to offer a host of screening products to determine a candidate’s suitability for any role, such as:

Right to work in UK

Employment referencing & gap analysis

Qualification checks

Media Searches

Financial Checks

BPSS Checks

BS7858 Clearance

FCA Screening

What is a BPSS check

The Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) was created to help reduce the risk of illegal workers, identity fraud and overall protect national security. It’s a requirement for civil servants, the armed forces and government contractors. It’s also required before applying for NSV security clearance. It analyses a candidate’s credit report, three-year employment verification; Gap in employment analysis and a basic criminal disclosure. It includes:

Credit Report
3 Year Employment Verification
Gap in Employment Analysis
Basic Criminal Disclosure

What is a BS7858 Clearance

BS7858 is the best practice procedure published by the British Standards Institution. It is used by businesses and industries across the UK, and is used to enhance the security and recruitment process. It includes:

Credit Report & ID Validation
5 Year Employment Verification
Highest Qualification Verification
2 Personal Character References
Right To Work
Criminal Record Check
Gap Employment Analysis

What is FCA Screening

There are many regulated positions, especially in the financial sector, where screening is a mandatory process for recruitment. Screening candidates who require regulatory approval often means a more in-depth level of vetting.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) screening is a detailed look into an individual’s background to ensure an applicant is ‘fit and proper’ to carry out the job role they are applying for.

FCA screening is determined through a number of different background checks under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and is part of a strict recruitment procedure for these specific industries. It includes:

K Electoral roll, UK CCJs, IVAs and Bankruptcies
Credit Report & ID Validation
Financial sanctions check against HM Treasury
UK Directorships and disqualifications
5 Year Employment Verification
Gap Employment Analysis
Highest Qualification Verification
2 Character References
Criminal Record Check (DBS)
FCA Register Validation Search
FCA Disciplinary validation
Regulated reference (where required)

What is NPPV Vetting?

NPPV vetting covers the vetting of all Police National Contractors and will be conducted at a level appropriate to the requirements of the ACPO National Vetting Policy for the Police Community. Warwickshire Police will carry out all vetting on behalf of police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the system eradicates the need for forces to vet and re-vet individual contractors. It includes:

Integrity check
Police National Computer (PNC) check
Intelligence and Special Branch – for addresses going back five years (residence check) applicant.
Military checks – if ex-forces
Professional Standards Department check – (Complaints and Discipline) if ex-police
Centurion – Complaints database
Financial check – using Force view (Experian)
Non conviction database check
SC check – via Parasol

How long do these checks usually take?:

At CBS we aim to complete our referencing services within 10 working days.

Useful links:


DBS Update Service:

DBS ID Validation:

DBS Barring referral–2


Department for Education:


Care Quality Commission:

Financial Conduct Authority:

Please Contact 01443 799 900 for any further information required.