Changes to the DBS Certificate

October 29th, 2019 by Jake Waddingham

Update Service from the DBS

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) have recently announced that the paper certificates will be updated on the 30th October 2019. Please read about the changes taking place and how to ensure that a certificate is genuine.

What will change from the 30th October 2019?

The organisation that prints the DBS certificates is updating their printers due to improvements in technology now available. This will result in the purple text and lines on the paper certificate being a lighter colour. The change is due to take place with all certificates printed after the 30th October 2019. As a result of the upgrade DBS certificates will become longer lasting and more sustainably produced. The security features on the paper certificate will not be amended.

What are the security features on a DBS certificate?

There are several key features on a DBS certificate which should be checked to ensure they are authentic and have not been tampered with, forged or invalidated: 

  1. What size is the certificate? It should measure 209mm x 404mm (slightly larger than A4).
  2. Is the personal information printed in purple?
  3. When holding the certificate up to the light, is there a ‘crown seal’ watermark repeated down the right-hand side?
  4. Do the words ‘Disclosure’ appear in the background in a wave-like pattern? The pattern should appear green from the front of the certificate and purple on the rear.

Once you have reviewed the security features in place and you are still unsure whether a certificate is genuine. You should contact the DBS immediately on .

When do I need to see a paper DBS certificate?

The most common reason to review an original paper DBS certificate is to check the conviction information that it contains, and hold a discussion with the applicant about its content. This should then be followed by a detailed risk assessment process to confirm if and what any follow-up action should be.

Organisations do not always need to review each paper certificate issued. Depending on the method of application the DBS may issue a eCertificate which indicates whether content is present which does need to be reviewed. This service is only available to applications made online through the DBS eBulk system. Any application made on the DBS paper form will not result in an eCertificate being issued. if you are still submitting application to the DBS on paper forms why not speak with one of the DDC team to see how we can quickly and easily move you onto the online application system? We can even allow your applicants to complete a paper form and then transfer the data online for ease of submission. 

How do I receive the result of an online DBS check with DDC? 

Processing online through DDC allows clients to receive disclosure results online. DDC will notify the authorised user when a disclosure has been issued. The notification will highlight when a disclosure contains conviction information and therefore requires the certificate to be assessed.  The original DBS certificate must be provided by the applicant, copies or photographs of the certificate should not be accepted.

It is important that you ensure the certificate your employee/volunteer provides is genuine by checking the common security features above. DDC’s online platform also provides users with the disclosure number and issue date, plus the details contained on the front to cross reference with the certificate the applicant produces. This provides an additional level of security to ensure the employing organisation are reviewing the correct and most recent certificate.

More information

If you would like more information about processing online with DDC please contact the team on 0116 260 3055/0845 644 3298 or

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