Getting Started

I am self employed, how do I request a DBS check?

If you are self employed, the only level of check you can obtain on yourself is a Basic-level check. Anybody may request a basic level disclosure on themselves, and this can be done directly with the DBS or Disclosure Scotland if living in Scotland. You can read more on our Basic Disclosure page.

If you are intending to work or volunteer in certain roles, you may require a Standard or Enhanced level check. Under current legislation, self-employed individuals cannot get a check on themselves. In this situation, the self-employed individual would need to allow a 3rd party, such as a professional association, to request a check. If the returned Disclosure contains information that indicates you are unsuitable for the role, the professional association would make this decision.

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Who can ask for a Disclosure?

An individual can request a Basic Disclosure on themselves for any purpose. The Disclosure will contain information on unspent convictions.

Standard and Enhanced Disclosures can only be requested by an individual or organisation that is eligible to ask an ‘exempted’ question about an individuals spent convictions. Organisations are allowed to ask this question when they are placing the applicant in a restricted role or where the organisation is endorsing the subject to work in a restricted role. It is essential that the organisation has the power to deny the role or endorsement to the subject if the Disclosure is not satisfactory. For employers this means they do not place the individual in the role. Endorsers must have a means of withholding their endorsement, which generally means they have to issue a document to those they do endorse (identity card or certificate), or publish (online) a list of currently endorsed individuals. Withholding endorsement is effected by not issuing the document or not listing the individual.

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Should I choose a Basic, Standard or Enhanced Disclosure for my employee?

Ultimately this is the decison of the employer to ensure they request the correct level of Disclosure for the work their employees are undertaking. Below is some guidance that can help with this decision making process:

Basic Disclosures can be requested for any role, including those adhering to the Cabinet Office Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

The Standard check is available for certain specified occupations, licences and entry into certain specified professions e.g. solicitors or some FCA controlled positions. Specifically, these are roles that are exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) by way of being listed in the Exceptions Order (1975) and subsequent revisions. A Standard Disclosure contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC)*

The Enhanced check is available for those included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 plus the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations. This level of check contains the same PNC information as the Standard Check but also includes a check of police records held locally. Enhanced checks may also include a check of the Children’s and Adult’s barred list, if they fall under the definition of Regulated Activity.

You should verify that you are eligible to request a Standard or Enhanced check before proceeding with the request.

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What are the different levels of Disclosure?

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was passed to protect individuals with minor convictions, and assign a period of time that conviction information would remain on a record, before the individual was classed as rehabilitated. Once the rehabilitation period was reached (and there was no re-offence) the applicant would not need to disclose the information to anyone requesting it. It was also recognised that certain positions or professions should fall outside this protection, due to the nature of the work undertaken. As such the (Exceptions) Order 1975 was passed detailing under what circumstances the employer was eligible to request all spent and unspent criminal information. This legislation has been added to, and amended since it was originally introduced. The result is 3 main levels of Disclosure available:

Basic Disclosures will show details of any unspent convictions. This means that an applicant would not need to disclose a ‘spent’ conviction if asked for a self-disclosure by an employer or other interested party (e.g. insurance provider) about unspent criminal convictions. Basic Disclosures are processed by DDC and supplied by the DBS for applicants living and working in England and Wales and Disclosure Scotland for applicants in Scotland.

Standard Disclosures will show details of any convictions or cautions received by the subject, unspent or spent.* Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 the Government outlined certain roles/professions where an employer (or other interested party) can ask an individual to disclose any spent and unspent criminal convictions.

Enhanced Disclosures will show the details of any convictions or cautions received by the subject, spent or unspent*, plus any ‘Approved Information’ held by the Police. Where an applicant is working in ‘Regulated Activity’ as defined by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the employer (or interested party) can also request a check of the Vetting and Barring Lists for working which children and/or adults.

In Scotland there also exists the PVG Scheme for those working in Regulated Activity, which can result in one of three documents being issued. A Scheme Membership Statement, a Scheme Record or a Scheme Update Statement. For more information please search PVG in the search function.

Please click here if you would like to register your organisation to request checks upon your staff members/volunteers.

*Under new legislation introduced in May 2013 certain spent conviction are now classed as ‘protected’ and will be ‘filtered’ from a Disclosure Certifcate. This generally includes old and minor convictions, where there is no history of re-offence. For more information view the Filtering Guidelines FAQ.

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Can I check myself or a family member?

Under the current Legislation an individual or self-employed person can not obtain an Enhanced or Standard DBS check upon themselves. Anybody can request a Basic-level Check on themselves, via DDC, the DBS or Disclosure Scotland if living in Scotland. For higher level Disclosures there must always be a third party who is either offering a role that is exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) or is willing to endorse the subject working in a qualifying role. Further, that 3rd party must have the sanction of denying the role to the subject of the Disclosure, or refusing to endorse their working in that role, if they do not consider it to be satisfactory.

This includes companies where the subject of the check is also the proprietor of the organisation. If there are co-owners who are not related you can request checks upon each other.

If you have been asked for a DBS check, you can ask the requesting organisation to contact DDC and they may be able to administer the checks directly with us.

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Differences between a Subject Access Request, a Police Certificate and a Basic Disclosure

Disclosures are different to “Police Checks”, which are documents issued by the Police at the request of an individual asking for a copy of any data stored on the Police National Computer about them. This information is provided under the Data Protection Act and is therefore only for the personal use of the subject and nobody else has the legal right to ask to see it. Police Checks are also known as “Subject Access” reports. For individuals looking to obtain a Police Certificate, for the purposes of a Visa application to certain countries, please visit the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACRO) website.

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What are spent and unspent convictions?

Spent convictions are those that have reached their rehabilitation period following a criminal conviction and are removed from an individual’s criminal record. Unspent convictions are those records that have not yet reached this defined time and will appear on a Basic Criminal Record Check.

The rehabilitation period is a set period of time defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Any conviction, caution, reprimand or warning that an individual may receive is held on their Criminal Record, on the Police National Computer. Some offences are classified as ‘non-recordable,’ meaning they are not stored on the PNC (Police National Computer) and become instantly ‘spent.’ This is is most commonly ‘on the spot’ fines but for more information contact the DBS directly. For exact time periods relating to types of offence please contact Disclosure Scotland or the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) directly.

Professions or job roles where employers can access both spent and unspent criminal convictions due to the nature of work being undertaken are detailed in The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, Exceptions Order 1975. Under pre-May 2013 Legislation an Enhanced and Standard Disclosure would show information on all previous spent and unspent convictions. Since 29th May 2013 there are certain conditions whereby conviction information is ‘filtered’ and some will not be displayed on the Certificate. Please view our webpage for more information about the Filtering of Conviction Information.

Within this new legislation there is a large list of conviction types and offences that will never be filtered from a Certificate. For more information go to

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How do I apply for a Basic Disclosure?

Guidance for Organisations

If you are an organisation requesting multiple basic checks for recruitment purposes, or you wish to outsource the process, then DDC Ltd can provide an easy to use online portal to assist in requesting and assessing Basic disclosures for employment or recruitment.

Our online application service for Basic Disclosures allows organisations to carry out all ID checks with no need to send or post documents to a third-party. Results are submitted and obtained electronically, with many additional services in the management and reporting of results. Identity checks can be carried out using Digital Identity. This service works seamlessly with our other services to offer a robust candidate screening system.

Please contact our team on 0116 260 3055 or 0845 644 3298 to discuss how DDC Ltd can assist you in obtaining Basic Disclosure checks for your employees.

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Enquire Now or phone our team on 0116 260 3055

Guidance for Individuals

Individuals over the age of 16 wanting to access their own record, can apply directly for Basic Disclosure.

Individuals living and working in England and Wales can apply directly through the DBS, on the Welcome to GOV.UK website.

Individuals living and working in Scotland can apply directly through Disclosure Scotland, on the Apply for basic disclosure – website.

Individuals living and working in Northern Ireland can apply directly with Access NI, on the Home website.

How to apply for a basic check

To apply for a Basic Disclosure you are required to provide:

  • your address history from the last 5 years (including the dates you lived at each address);
  • supporting ID documents that meet with the authority requirements;
  • at least one of these must be a ‘Primary Trusted Document’: passport, photocard driving licence (full or provisional), birth certificate
  • additional documents that confirm your current address: bank or financial statements, utility bills, documents issued by a government department or local authority.
  • National Insurance number (if applicable)

If you are applying through Disclosure Scotland you will need to provide your mother’s maiden name, and the employer’s details (if the disclosure certificate is to be sent there).

You can view further guidance on accepted documents here.

Whether or not these documents need to be sent directly to the issuing authority or to a third party for verification will depend on the process chosen.

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I work in the security industry. Do I need a Disclosure?

Roles in the security industry are regulated by the Security Industry Authority and your employer should have the relevant forms for you.

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I work at an airport. Do I need a Disclosure?

Roles which involve working air-side at an airport only warrant a Basic Disclosure the same as any other role. Your employer should have a mechanism to get the Disclosure and have the airside pass issued. Where you are being asked to obtain a Basic Disclosure by the employer, they can register as a client with us and we can obtain the Disclosure for you, and notify them of any content (once you have confirmed it correctly relates to you).

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Do I need a Disclosure for a Personal Licence (Liquor)?

Liquor licences require a Basic Disclosure which is issued by Disclosure Scotland (only) for the whole of the UK. You can apply directly to Disclosure Scotland without the need for a Registered Body (like DDC) to countersign the application. They can be contacted on 0870 609 6006. Where you are being asked to obtain a Basic Disclosure by an employer, they can register as a client with us if they wish and we can obtain the Disclosure for you and notify them of any content (once you have confirmed it correctly relates to you).

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I live / work outside the UK. Can I still get a Disclosure?

If you are working overseas for a UK based company we can obtain a Disclosure for you, if your employer registers with us (you can still pay for it, if that is the arrangement you prefer). Your original proof of address and proof of ID documents will need to be checked. Those that are with you and not suitable to be sent to us in the UK (passport, drivers licence) will need to be checked locally by somebody from your UK employer.

We are unable to act for Client Organisations that do not have a UK base of operations.

For applicants from outside the UK (or EEA) we are limited in the documents that we can see to confirm the identity of the applicant, but applications are still possible. Please refer to the guidance notes or online application process for more details.

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What is the difference between a Disclosure and a CRB / DBS Check?

A ‘DBS check’ is the general name of the application process for checking an individuals criminal record through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This was previously called a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, however the name changed in 2012. A Disclosure is the name of the specific document issued by the DBS, Disclosure Scotland or Access Northern Ireland that contains the information relating to that applicant. Depending on the relevant authority used to apply, the information may be displayed in different ways. Generally speaking the applicant will always be sent, or have access to, their copy of the Disclosure document.

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I have been told to get a Disclosure. What do I need to do?

If you have been told by your manager or supervisor to get a Disclosure on yourself, then the only level of Disclosure that your are able to obtain is a Basic-level Disclosure. Anybody may request a basic level disclosure on themselves, and this can be done directly through the DBS or Disclosure Scotland if living in Scotland. You can read more on our Basic Disclosure page.

If you have been told to obtain a Disclosure through DDC you should have been given a link or received an email containing more details. If not please contact us directly.

If you are about to start working in a role that involves children or vulnerable adults, you may be required to obtain a Standard or Enhanced level Disclosure. These levels of Disclosure are not available to individuals, so they can only be requested by an eligible ‘Interested Party’, such as a charity, NGO or company. Once that organisation has confirmed they are permitted to request these levels of Disclosure, they can start the process, and the relevant forms will be provided to you.

If you think that you may need this level of check for your employees, you can visit our ‘Standard and Enhanced Checks‘ page for more information.

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How do I get a criminal record checked?

The process for obtaining a Disclosure document is relatively straightforward, and involves 6 general steps:

  1. Decide which level of check the applicant requires.
  2. Complete the correct disclosure application form (online or paper).
  3. Present the form and supporting documents to an authorised individual, who will check the details.
  4. Submit the form to the DBS or Disclosure Scotland. Higher level checks require the signature of a registered ‘Countersignatory’ prior to submission.
  5. A Disclosure document will be issued by the DBS or Disclosure Scotland.
  6. The Certificate issued must then be evaluated by the person providing the employment e.g. a local manager.

There are various methods for completing these steps, and the exact process is dependent on the applicant’s circumstances, such as the supporting documents available and the industry sector. DDC can help to streamline your application process, and can take over all administrative responsibility, so errors are avoided and turnaround time is reduced. To get started, you may wish to visit our ‘About Disclosures‘ page, to decide which level of check is right for you.

If you are an individual looking to obtain a check upon yourself please click here (this includes sole proprietors and self-employed people).

If you would like to request checks upon your staff why not Register your organisation with us.

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How much does it cost to get a criminal record check?

The cost of getting a criminal record check depends on several factors and ranges from as little as £12 for a volunteer getting an online Disclosure to over £80 for an individual joining the Scottish PVG scheme.

The cost is determined by the type of check required, the documentation the applicant is able to provide, the type of service opted for and the volunteer status of the applicant. The eligibility for the different levels of check is decided by the DBS/SCRO, so we can only offer the lowest price to those applicants that meet the strict criteria

We are responsible for setting our own administrative fee, which includes the Royal Mail Tracked Mail fee (where applicable). Beyond this, the remainder of the application fee is set by the DBS, Disclosure Scotland or Access NI.

For more information about DDC fees please see our criminal record check price list .

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What are children’s or adult’s lists?

The Adult’s list and the Children’s lists are the two current systems for recording those individuals actively barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. The lists have existed in various forms over the past few years, such as List 99, Protection of Vulnerable Adults list (POVA), Protection of Children Act (POCA) list and the Independent Safeguarding Authority Barred List. Since October 2012, the lists have been taken over by the DBS.

The lists can be checked for applicants that work in a role that involves caring for, supervising or being in sole charge of children or adults (vulnerable).

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What is the difference between a PVG Scheme application and a DBS Check?

There are several key differences between the application for a DBS Disclosure and an application to join the PVG scheme. Below are some of the key differences and the questions an employer should ask before deciding on the correct process:

Where will the applicant be working?

To be eligible for the PVG Scheme the applicant must be working in Scotland and undertaking Regulated Work with children and/or adults. To be eligible for a DBS Check the role must fall within the DBS definition of Regulated Activity and the employment/recruitment decision must be made in England or Wales. The requirements are different between the schemes and please read the corresponding pages for more information.

Continuous Updating

Under the PVG Scheme any employer that has ‘registered an interest’ in an applicant will be informed if they become ‘considered for barring’. They will not be informed if something is added to the applicant’s criminal record.

Who can apply to join the PVG Scheme?

An individual can apply to join the PVG scheme directly to Disclosure Scotland, and receive a Scheme Membership Statement. However an employer/recruiting body should ensure they obtain a Scheme Record for the applicant or a Scheme Update, to ‘register an interest’ in the applicant and received continuous updating information, about consideration for barring. To apply for a Scheme Record, Scheme Update or DBS check an application must be made through a Registered Body (such as DDC Ltd.)

Different types of application form

When an employer is offering an applicant a role undertaking Regulated Activity in Scotland they should ensure they have ‘registered an interest’ in the applicant. There are three different forms that an applicant can complete, based upon their current PVG Status. For more information please read our general PVG Scheme information page. DBS check application forms are identical for all applicants, irrespective of any previous applications.

How long does a PVG Check last?

Both DBS Certificate and PVG Scheme Records are accurate at the point of printing however anything can be added to the individual’s criminal record after that point, that would not be shown on the Certificate. Both systems offer the employer a method of checking if that Certificate is still accurate (through the DBS Update Service or a PVG Scheme Update form) however the PVG Scheme includes continuous updating so that any employer that has registered an interest in an applicant is informed if there is any ‘consideration for barring’. This does not include if anything has been added to a criminal record so employers should decide if or how frequently re-checks are required.

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How can I pay for my DBS check?

I have been asked to make payment for my DBS check, what are the options?

If you wish to make payment for your criminal record check there are several options available:

  1. Debit / Credit Card – payment details can be provided over the phone or in person at our offices (please see the contact DDC page)
  2. Online through the payment portal, with a debit or credit card.
  3. Cheque – please make cheques payable to ‘DDC Ltd’ and post them directly to our offices or return them with the application pack
  4. Bank Transfer – please request bank details and a reference number from one of the team
  5. Banker’s Draft or Postal Order- we can accept Banker’s Draft or Postal Order made payable to DDC Ltd (as above)

Unfortunately we can not accept cash payments and strongly advise applicants/clients not to send cash through the post.

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What is the DBS definition of a volunteer?

The DBS do not charge an application fee for roles submitted as volunteers. As such they have a very strict 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 be classed as a volunteer the applicant must not:

  • Benefit financially from the job role being applied for
  • Receive any payment for the role (with the exception of travel and other approved ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses).
  • Be on a work placement.
  • Be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role.
  • Be on a course which requires them to undertake the role, to gain a qualification
  • Be a paid foster carer, or a member of a foster carer household.

If the applicant meets any of the criteria above then they would be classed by the DBS as a paid role requiring the full fee to be paid.

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During The Checking Process

Can I use DDC for an ID check and another organisation for my DBS Check?

Yes. The Registered Body should proceed in their normal way with processing the DBS check. DDC’s ID validation service is only a method of obtaining the External Identity Validation Check for the part of the Route 2 identity verification process. It is the Registered Body’s responsibility to check the other documentation required to be submitted by the applicant.

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Do the Prepaid bundles of ID checks expire?

The ID checks you purchase in advance do not have an expiry date. If you purchase a 50 check bundle and only use 40 over the year you will still have 10 checks to use as and when required after that. Apart from buying a pack of checks what other cost are there? None. DDC do not charge an annual fee or set up fee. The Registered Body makes payment for the checks in advance.

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What does it mean if an applicant fails an ID Check?

If an external ID validation check comes back as a fail it does not mean the applicant has done anything wrong or has necessarily provided incorrect details.

To pass a Route 2 check the applicant must meet the requirements set-out by Government standards, for a Level 2 (remote) application. This means that they must be matched within the Experian database to the following criteria:

The applicants name and current address to 4 primary data sources and the applicants name and date of birth to 1 data source or;

The applicants name and current address to 3 primary data sources and the applicants name and date of birth to 2 data sources.

If Experian cannot find data to this level or higher the application will return a fail result.

There are several occasions where this may be the case: persons that have just recently arrived in the UK, persons that do not have many credit or finance agreements, persons that have recently moved, or recently changed their name may lack enough matches. For these applicants, alternative identity verification via Route 1 or 3 will be required.

Failing the External ID validation check for the DBS’s Route 2 means Experian can not find enough information matches about the applicant to authenticate them to Level 2 (remote). The Route 2 ID check, as performed by Experian, matches the stated identity details (name, address, and date of birth) against relevant third party data that is available in the UK and data from their own database records which have been built up over time. For example Electoral Roll, debit bank accounts, credit card accounts, and mobile phone accounts.

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Can I use the e-Bulk system for Basic-level checks or PVG applications?

The e-Bulk system can be used to apply for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. Basic level disclosure applications are still submitted electronically but via a web service to the DBS and Disclosure Scotland. Unfortunately, there is currently no bulk upload facility for PVG applications. Disclosure Scotland have committed to a modernisation programmes (as of November 2016) which includes allowing PVG applications to be submitted electronically.

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What documents are required for a criminal record check?

The documentary requirements when applying for a check depend on the type of check required. Scottish residents applying to join the PVG Scheme are subject to certain requirements, which are detailed on our PVG Scheme page. Basic checks require different document types, which are detailed on our ‘Basic Checks‘ page. The document requirements for Standard and Enhanced Disclosures are more complicated. The DBS have divided documents into 3 broad groups:

  • Primary Trusted Identity Credentials
  • Trusted Government/State Issued Documents
  • Financial/Social History Documents

There are 3 ‘routes’ for choosing documents to present in support of an application. Applicants must attempt to follow the 3 different ‘routes’ in sequence i.e. Route 1 is the default route for all applicants. If Route 1 fails because the applicant does not possess the necessary documents, then Route 2 must be followed. If Route 2 fails, then the applicant can follow Route 3. If Route 3 fails, the applicant must report to a local Police Station for fingerprinting. Full guidance is provided by the DBS and is summarised on our ‘Documentation Required‘ page.

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Can my Disclosure be received by a family member?

For Basic Disclosures, only 1 copy is issued, and it is sent to the applicant. As an Umbrella Body acting for a Client, DDC Ltd would have this document sent to us for verification. For Standard and Enhanced Disclosures, only one copy of the Certificate is issued and this sent to the applicant. We are informed electronically if this Certificate contains information. Our policy is that the applicant and the person we inform about content can not be related.

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How long does it take to get a Disclosure?

Disclosure turnaround times vary according to several factors. The national average is approximately 14 days for an Enhanced Disclosure, although this figure can vary significantly. When evaluating the total time taken to obtain a DBS Certificate it is important to look at each stage of the process. Firstly the applicant must complete the form, and have the details verified. Depending on the service opted for, this could include postal delays, or documentation queries that need to be answered. Secondly, the application data needs to be sent to the DBS or Disclosure Scotland. This can be done with a paper form, or via online submission. Online submission tends to be faster, but is only available to ‘e-Bulk‘ registered organisations, such as DDC. Thirdly, the DBS or Disclosure Scotland need to process the application and consult various databases and police forces. Finally, once the application has been processed, the Disclosure needs to be printed and sent to the relevant recipients.

Therefore, the turnaround time can range from 1 working day to several months in exceptional cases. At DDC we endeavor to monitor and control our processing speeds and you can contact us to confirm our current average turn-around time. You can also view our ‘Service Objectives‘ page to read more.

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I receive online statements / utility bills, what can I do?

The documents that a Registered Body can accept in support of an Enhanced/Standard Disclosure application are defined by the Disclosure and Barring Service. In the official guidance, they specify that original documents must be used, and photocopies or documents printed by an applicant are not acceptable. Excluded from this list of acceptable documents are mobile phone statements, which can not be accepted in any form.

With the ever increasing use of online billing and paper-less accounts this can cause an issue for some applicants. We recommend that applicants contact their statement or utility provider as they will normally be able to provide a paper document with the current address on.

Most Banks/Building Societies will be able to print a statement in a local branch if requested, although some may charge a fee for this if it is outside of the normal statement period. When requesting a statement in branch please ensure that they print it on headed paper and date stamp the document to confirm that they have issued it. If this is not done we are unable to differentiate between a statement printed by the bank or one printed by the applicant.

Please remember to ensure that the document produced is within the time-frame stated on the guidance notes.

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Can I use a c/o address for my application?

The DBS will allow applicants living overseas to use a ‘Care of’ address, as they are unlikely to receive their Certificate at their home address, as the DBS may not post their Certificate. The applicant must provide permission for their Certificate to be sent to this address, and the form must clearly identify this as a c/o address. This option is not available for UK residents and should only be used as a last resort.

For applicants applying through DDC Ltd we will need an email/letter from the applicant to confirm this request and a reason for the change. We can only process this request before the application is submitted to the DBS, so please include a note with your return paper pack or send an email prior to submitting your online application.

Related questions:

What happens if there is a change in personal circumstances during the checking process?
I have lost my DBS Certificate. Can I get another copy?

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Where is my DBS / CRB check and why is it taking so long?

Where is my DBS Certificate?

Waiting for your DBS/CRB Certificate to be processed can be a frustrating time. This is especially true when you are required to have a Disclosure before starting work or taking up a volunteering role. The length of time taken by the DBS to issue a Certificate is not a sign that there is anything on the Certificate or you have a criminal record.

The DBS follow strict procedures when processing checks and deals with them in a purely chronological order. They also have service levels that dictate the process for dealing with slow Disclosures. However, these service levels do not include strict processing time limits, so the waiting period will vary from applicant to applicant. Typical processing times for an Enhanced DBS check is 11 days. The DBS are undertaking a modernisation program in 2017 in an attempt to reduce this time-frame.

The DBS application process:

To understand why your check may be taking so long, it is useful to understand how the Disclosure process works. When a DBS check request is submitted by an employer or endorsing body, it has to pass through 5 separate stages before the document is issued, and a Certificate posted direct to the applicant’s home address. These stages are as follows:

Stage 1 – Application Form received by the DBS and validated

Stage 2 – Police National Computer searched

Stage 3 – DBS Children, DBS Adults and List 99 searched (where applicable)

Stage 4 – With the Local Police Force

Stage 5 – Certificate printed

For an eBulk user such as DDC, Stage 1 occurs very quickly as all applications are checked over by a fully trained Countersignatory at DDC before submitting. At several steps in the process systems check the form information to ensure there are no mismatches or erroneous entries. We receive an electronic receipt from the DBS to confirm that the application has been received so we know the process is under way. Any ineligible applications that don’t meet the DBS data requirements are instantly rejected by their systems, with an instant notification to the DDC Team.

Why is my DBS Certificate taking so long?

From experience, we find that applications take the longest at Stage 4, when they are passed to the Local Police Force(s) (LPF). This process sees the application passed to any of the LPF(s) in the areas listed within the 5 year address history of the applicant. This means that if an applicant has moved around the UK in the last 5 years the application will need to be passed to several different LPFs. It is also the case that these LPFs can pass the application to another LPF, if they feel that they might hold information relevant to that application.

What can I do to speed up my DBS application?

As an Umbrella Body DDC are limited in our ability to chase or speed up an application and can only begin a formal process of ‘Escalation’ once the application has been at Stage 4 for 60+ days. As part of the service that we offer, we track the application online to confirm when the application will reach this date and Escalate at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately any of the LPFs can raise a query and return the application to the DBS. Once the query has been resolved and the application re-sent to the LPF, their 60 day Service Level Agreement restarts.

Overall, DDC can not say how long an individuals Disclosure will take to be issued by the DBS. The DBS give no preference to certain Umbrella Bodies to enable checks to be carried out more quickly. DDC do all they can to ensure the application is going through the process and unfortunately there is no way to speed it up. Information from the DBS shows that DDC’s performance is better than average compared to all Registered Bodies and many Disclosures are issued within 24 hours of the application being submitted. On the other side of this it is perfectly normal for application to take 4 weeks to be returned.

What is a Hardship Request?

A hardship request allows an individual to request compensation from the DBS, due to severely delayed applications. The individual must contact the DBS directly to provide additional personal information relating to the value of the hardship, and normally some proof to confirm that value. To begin this process the applicant should contact the DBS directly.

More information:

Top tips for tracking a DBS application

What is approved additional information on an Enhanced level DBS check?

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The criminal record checking process for transgender applicants

I am a transgender applicant, what is the DBS process?

The law requires that applicants disclose all previous names and addresses to the DBS so that they can process an application correctly, and return accurate results. In accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004 the DBS have a process to allow applicants to disclose previous gender/name information to the DBS only. This information does not need to be revealed on the DBS certificate. This is known as the ‘Sensitive Applications Process’.

How does this process work for the applicant?

An individual completing a DBS form should contact the DBS Sensitive Application Team, ideally a few days before the application form is completed and submitted to the DBS. This team is experienced in dealing with sensitive cases, and can offer additional support to an applicant. This team can ensure that any previous gender/name is not released on the DBS certificate, unless permission is provided. A member of the DBS team will be able to answer any questions about completing the application form and will record details to allow the tracking of the application when it arrives.

What can happen if I don’t use the DBS’s Sensitive Application route?

If the individual has not contacted the DBS’s Sensitive Applications Team they will not be able to monitor that application and certificate. This could result in previous names, gender and criminal information being made available. If the applicant is happy for this information to be released then the normal application route would apply.

Can I have my convictions, cautions or other criminal information about me transferred to my new name?

Yes. If an individual has obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate the Police can transfer the information to a new name. The Police will amend the record, by changing the gender and file name to reflect the new name. Former names will be retained on police record but will not appear on a DBS Certificate.

What if I don’t have a Gender Recognition Certificate?

If the individual does not have a Gender Recognition Certificate, they should still contact the DBS’s Sensitive Applications Team. If the DBS check is going to reveal information in a previous gender/name the DBS will initiate contact before it is issued. If the individual has no criminal information then the DBS can remove previous names / gender so that they do not appear on a certificate.

How contact the DBS or find out more about the process?

For more information, the DBS’s Sensitive Application’s Team is available on 0300 106 1452 or email

The Sensitive Application Team Customer Services

Disclosure and Barring Service

PO BOX 165


L69 3JD

What is the process for Basic/PVG applications for transgender applicants through Disclosure Scotland?

Disclosure Scotland operates a special application process for transgender persons to assist in ensuring discretion is afforded to such individuals who do not wish their previous gender and names to be disclosed. When completing a Basic Disclosure application form or PVG application form the individual should only declare current gender and names. There is no requirement to disclose on the form any names previously known by. Applicants will be required to provide details of previous name(s) under separate cover to Disclosure Scotland. Please send this letter to Disclosure Scotland marked Private and Confidential providing details of the current names and any previous names used along with the current address and National Insurance number.

The letter should be sent to :-

The Operations Manager

Disclosure Scotland

PO Box 250


G51 1YU

Further assistance is available from Disclosure Scotland on 0870 609 6006 or email

What is the process for AccessNI disclosure applications for transgender applicants?

AccessNI do not require applicants to declare previous gender or names on the online AccessNI disclosure application form. Before an application is submitted please contact AccessNI on 0300 200 7888 or email Applicants will need to provide details of any previous names used along with current details to enable the correct information to be checked for the disclosure.

If you have any further questions on this process you can contact one of the team using the DDC Contact Page.

Open  FAQ

What happens if there is a change in personal circumstances?

Common queries relating to changes in personal circumstances and criminal record checks.

Below are some of the most common queries in relation to changes in personal circumstances and applying for a criminal record or DBS check. These changes may have an influence on what happens during the checking process or when applying for a new check.

I have recently married or changed my name

All documentation must be in the current name declared on the application form. A passport which is still in the maiden name can potentially be used as a valid document, with a corresponding UK marriage certificate.  If you are completing an online application form please call a member of our team on 0845 6443298 and we can advise how to proceed in this instance.

Once a Certificate has been printed it can not be amended. If an applicant wishes a new name to appear on the certificate, a new application would be required. Before applying please ensure that sufficient documents are available which confirm the new name.

I work in a professional or different name

This applies where an individual may work in a different name to the primary identity documents. All names used must be declared on the application form to ensure they are checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service, or other body. The current name as entered on to the form will be shown on the Certificate, and must correspond with the name shown on primary identity documents. If using a professional name please declare this as a previous name used to ensure that it appears on the Certificate.

I recently moved address

This is generally not an issue for most applications as they are processed within a few days. The actions that can be taken to amend an address on an application in process, will be dependent on the authority issuing the Certificate. The Disclosure and Barring Service (English and Welsh applications) will be able to change an address at certain stages within the checking process. To notify one of the team please call DDC on 0845 6443298. You will be asked to provide a document confirming the new address, that matches the DBS document checking requirements.

Disclosure Scotland may be able to change an address at certain stages in the process. However they will require a document in the new address to confirm this.

Application with Access Northern Ireland already in process, can not be changed to a new address. A new application would be required.

If the Certificate has already been issued there is no way to amend the postal address, and a new application would be required.
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Using a Disclosure

What is the DBS Update Service?

The DBS Update Service was launched by the Disclosure and Barring Service on 17th June 2013. An applicant must join the service and pay an annual subscription fee direct to the DBS.* Once joined the applicant can potentially re-use a Disclosure Certificate by giving permission to a new employer to check online that the document is still current, or if additional information has been added since it’s issue. There is no requirement for an employer to accept a previous Certificate on the DBS Update Service, and each organisation should assess the risks before making their decision.

The information provided by the online DBS Update Service Check will not confirm the information shown on the Certificate (the only way to view this is by looking at the Original Certificate presented by the applicant) but will return one of 4 results:

The Results of an Update Service Check:

  1. This Certificate did not reveal any information and remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue – The certificate when issued was blank and no new information has been found since its issue.
  2. This Certificate remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue – the Certificate revealed information about the person and no new information has been found since its issue.
  3. This Certificate is no longer current. Please apply for a new DBS check to get the most up-to-date information – new information has come to light since the Certificate was issued and they will need to apply for a new DBS check to see this information.
  4. The details entered do not match those held on our system. Please check and try again – this means either the individual has not subscribed to the Update Service; or the Certificate has been removed from the Update Service by the individual; or the employer has not entered the correct information.

Running an Update Service Check:

Any organisation looking to take advantage of the DBS Update Service should make arrangements to ensure that:

  • The Certificate belongs to the Employee (ID Checks)
  • The Certificate is genuine (Document Security Checks)
  • The Certificate is at the correct level (Standard/Enhanced)
  • The Certificate checks the correct information (Vetting and Barring Lists, plus Workforce descriptions)
  • The volunteer status is the same as would be required
  • The ‘working at home’ status is the same as would be required
  • The individual has given their consent for the Update Service Check

Once this information has been confirmed the employer can check online to see if that Certificate has changed since it was issued, with the results returned as above. For more information on how to do this please go to

If an employer takes action based upon Certificate information that they are not eligible to view, they would be in breach of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Please note that applicants can only join the DBS Update Service when they next complete a DBS application therefore any Disclosures issued before the 17th June 2013 would not be included in the DBS Update Service.

Risk Assessment process:

Each employer should follow an internal risk assessment process to fully understand the Update Service and ensure that it is suitable for the organisation. Some of the points that we recommend reviewing include:

  • Ensure that any recheck policy in place is consistent for all employees.
  • Ensure that information obtained/recorded meets with internal policies of the organisation, and does not breech the Data Protection Act/ Protection of Freedoms Act.
  • Ensure mechanisms are in place that accurately record the process followed, to ensure compliance under the current Update Service guidelines.
  • Ensure staff members are aware of your policies or any change in policies that arise due to the inclusion of the Update Service.
  • Seek/review guidance from any industry specific bodies (e.g. CQC) to ensure they endorse the use of the Update Service.
  • The Original Certificate was requested by a third party carrying out a set process for completing the application form and checking the ID of the applicant. By accepting an Existing Certificate the Employer is accepting that this process was completed diligently.
  • The DBS will be made aware of the Police National Computer details every 7 days and will update the ‘Approved Additional Information’ every 9 months.
  • An applicant can remove a Certificate from the Update Service, or cancel their subscription at any point. The DBS are not able to confirm why a Certificate has been removed from the service, or discuss this with an employer or Registered Body.
  • Home Based roles will not confirm any third party risks when using the Update Service.

*For applications that are processed as volunteers this service is free.

Open  FAQ

How long does a DBS / CRB check last?

Disclosures cannot be thought of as licenses, and they do not expire after a certain period. Disclosures are a more like a snapshot of a person’s criminal record. If the government updates the individual’s criminal record the day after a Disclosure is generated, then the Disclosure will be almost immediately inaccurate. This scenario is unlikely to occur for most applicants, but it does highlight the true significance of a Disclosure document.

Therefore, it is recommended that periodic rechecks are undertaken at a frequency appropriate for the role. We recommend 3 years as the maximum recheck period before carrying out another criminal record check, although some organisations, such as hospitals, suggest a 1 year recheck period. It remains the final responsibility of the client to specify how long it is before a re-check is requested.

An applicant can choose to join the DBS Update Service within 30 days of receiving their Disclosure Certificate, and potentially re-use their Certificate under certain circumstances.

Get started todayRegistration is quick and easy

Register Now or phone our team on 0845 644 3298

Open  FAQ

What is Approved Additional Information?

As part of the checks undertaken with an Enhanced-Level DBS application, the DBS will ask the Local Police Forces (LPFs) if they hold any additional information relating to the applicant being checked. This query will be sent to all the LPFs which cover areas where the applicant has lived over the last 5 years, although each of these LPFs can pass the query to another LPF if they believe they may hold information.

This information may include details relating to an investigation which did not result in a conviction, reprimand, warning or a record on the Police National Computer. The Local Police Forces are provided with guidance relating to when to include such information (hence ‘approved’) and it’s relevance to the application in question. The ‘workforce’ information included with the application is used to assist with this decision.

Under the September 2012 changes, approved additional information does not now include ongoing investigations. The Police can use their Common Law powers to contact an employer if they feel they need to release such information.

Open  FAQ

What is classed as a ‘Personal or Family Arrangement’ by the DBS?

A family arrangement is a relationship which involves close family or those who live in the same household and treat each other as family.

A personal, non-commercial arrangement exists where no money changes hands, or any money changing hands is given outside of a commercial arrangement. An example would be gifting a friend some petrol money for travel to a Hospital appointment.

A personal arrangement can still exist if money changes hands to pay an individual directly for services, without any third party involved.

These types of arrangement are excluded from Regulated Activity and are not eligible for an Enhanced Level DBS check under the Regulated Activity requirements.

If an individual is employing someone directly they cannot ask them to apply for a DBS certificate, even if the role is eligible. This is because, as an individual, they are not employed for the purposes of making a suitability decision i.e. it is not their job to assess suitability. The legislation does not allow such an individual to request and assess criminal record information, as part of a DBS check. Where an agency or third party is used, this third party would be responsible for requesting the criminal record checks, and assessing content.

Can I request a DBS check on my nanny or personal carer?

If an individual is employing the nanny or personal carer directly (i.e. not through a third party, referral organisation or agency) then generally they will not be able to request a DBS check. This would be classed as a personal arrangement even if you are asking the nanny or personal carer to assist with another family member. For those who do employ these types of worker through a third party, it will normally be that third party that requests the check to ensure suitability for the role on offer.

For more information on requesting checks under a family or personal arrangement please see our Basic Criminal Record Checks page.

Related Questions:

Who can ask for a DBS check?

Can I check myself or a family member?

Open  FAQ

What is the role of a Recipient, for criminal record check information?

What is a DBS Recipient?

A ‘Recipient’ is a term used by Due Diligence Checking Limited (DDC) to describe a specific role. This role is authorised by a Client organisation to receive content on a Disclosure. To access DDC systems, a Recipient requires additional security information, set-up at account opening. If a user has not been authorised they will not be able to discuss sensitive personal information with a DDC team member. In addition their online access will not include a button to access the Recipient Area.

Obtaining Certificate information

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Access Northern Ireland (AccessNI) will inform DDC electronically when a Certificate has been issued containing content. This will result in an automated email being sent to the Recipient asking that they either:

  • Access the online ‘Recipient Area’ through the general Client Area and obtain the name of the applicant. This area can also be used to remind the applicant that they should provide their Certificate, confirm once an employment decision has been made or indicate to DDC that an arrangement has been made with the applicant to review the Certificate.
  • Call DDC to obtain the name of the applicant, subject to a security check as an authorised user.

For PVG applications in Scotland DDC will receive a copy of the paper document issued and follow the above process to contact the named Recipient as required.

Making an Employment Decision

DDC do not receive a copy of the Certificate issued for DBS or AccessNI applications. Applicant must provide their own paper copy of the document to the named Recipient. If the Recipient requires any assistance with the content e.g. what is the difference between “assault” and “affray” we will endeavour to help them. Common questions include:

On receipt of the Disclosure Certificate the Recipient has to decide if any action is warranted and what that action should be. This would normally involve a risk assessment process. This should include representations made by the applicant. Unfortunately this decision can only made by the employing organisation. DDC staff are unable to make employment decision for Clients. Please see our FAQ on making an employment decision for more information.

Escalation and Cover

DDC’s policy is to pass content to the client as soon as possible. This includes logging which Recipient has been informed of Certificate information. The Recipient Area will therefore record when the name of the applicant has been divulged. We request that the employment decision be made as soon as possible and confirmed through the Recipient Area. If no action has been taken we may issue some reminders to confirm that the name of the applicant is known, This includes that the risk assessment process or obtaining the applicants’ Certificate has started.

Confidential Information

Certificate information should be kept in the strictest of confidence and should not be recorded by a Recipient unless the employee has given their specific permission for this to be done. Any person who reviews Criminal Record information should abide by the DBS Code of Practice, or equivalent requirements for Disclosure Scotland or Access Northern Ireland.

More information:

The DDC Security commitment

Top tips for tracking a DBS application

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After Your Check is Completed

I have lost my Disclosure Document. Can I get another copy?

In short, no. If you have received your Certificate and then lost it, you can not obtain a replacement. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS formerly CRB) will re-print a Disclosure Certificate if the original was lost in the post en-route to you and was never received. This must be reported within 90 days of the issue date. Under the current DBS system there is only one paper copy of the Disclosure Certificate that is issued direct to the applicant. We recommend that you keep this safe at all times as the only copy available for review.

If you have not received your original DBS Certificate you can request a re-print by sending an email to including your name, date of birth, place of birth, address (with post code) and the date the Certificate was issued.

Disclosure Scotland or PVG applications

Applicants must wait at least 10 days from their issue date, to request a reprint of their Basic Disclosure or PVG Certificate. Reprints must be requested within 84 days of the original print date. If outside of this timeframe than a new application must be submitted. Full details on the process of requesting a reprint are available on the Disclosure Scotland website. To request a re-print applicants must contact Disclosure Scotland to confirm:

  • that the original certificate has not been received plus
  • the original address for the certificate.

Facilities are in place for those who have moved address, however you may be required to provide additional documents to confirm this new address.

Access Northern Ireland applications

AccessNI will reprint a lost or damaged certificate if this is requested within 90 days of the original issue date. To contact AccessNI call 03002 007 888.

Get started todayRegistration is quick and easy

Register Now or phone our team on 0845 644 3298

Open  FAQ

I already have a Disclosure. Do I need to get another one?

Disclosures are a check against the records at a moment in time and additional information could be added any time after the issue date shown on the Certificate. Also, the police will decide whether to release intelligence based on the role and workforce entered on to the form.

Consequently, since 2006 Disclosures have not been portable between employers, although the practice is not specifically banned. Some employers do accept very recent Disclosures, provided they can be verified with the original Registered Body. However, with portability not being endorsed by the DBS (CRB) these employers find that most Registered Bodies will not verify them.

Most employers should have a policy about accepting a Disclosure from another source, however there are associated risks in accepting a document obtained through another employer. There is no guarantee that the identity checking guidelines were followed by the previous Registered Body, to ensure the results were returned accurately.

The DBS have developed an Update Service which an applicant can choose to join. This will allow the applicant to pay an annual fee to join the service and potentially re-use their Certificate in certain circumstances, and produce this to a new employer, to confirm if anything has been added to that document since it’s issue date.
Open  FAQ

What are the DBS Filtering Rules for criminal check certificates?

On the 29th May 2013 legislation came into force that removed certain old and minor conviction information, from the Exceptions Order of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. In practical terms this means that not all conviction information will be displayed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS Disclosure. Some old or minor convictions will be removed from the certificate issued to the individual. These rules are described as the DBS Filtering Rules.

These rules were updated again on 28th October 2023.

Updates to the filtering rules mean that all unspent convictions (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act), that have not yet become spent, will automatically be disclosed. This is to ensure continuity between information disclosed on Basic DBS checks and on Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. Further information on this 2023 update and the potential impact can be found here.

What convictions are filtered from a DBS certificate?

Those 18 years old or over at the time of offence

Convictions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • 11 years have passed since the date of the conviction

Cautions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • 6 years have passed since the date of the caution

Those under the age of 18 at the time of offence

Convictions will be removed for a non-specified offence if:

  • Same rules apply as above however the elapsed time is reduced to 5.5 years

Cautions, reprimands and warnings received when an individual was under 18 will not appear on a Standard or Enhanced certificate automatically.

Information never Filtered from a Certificate

Standard and Enhanced DBS certificates must always include the following records no matter when they were received:

More guidance can be found on the DBS website here.

Filtering of information on Disclosure Scotland applications:

For more information on the legislation changes in Scotland, please read the Disclosure Scotland website. Please note that the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) (Exclusions and Exceptions) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2015 applies different filtering rules to the treatment of convictions, which fall under the Scottish regime.

Policy and recruitment wording

Please note that in response to the DBS filtering rules, the recruitment question should be amended to:

Do you have any unspent conditional cautions or convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 which would not be filtered in line with current guidance? (Y/N)?

Do you have any adult cautions (simple or conditional) or spent convictions that are not protected as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2020? (Y/N)?

Open  FAQ

How to make an Employment Decision

For most employers this is the final decision to make once the results of a criminal records check have been received. Where there is no Certificate content to evaluate, which is a majority of cases, this is an easy decision.

For most employers it becomes slightly more complicated if the Certificate has revealed some further information which needs to be evaluated. (Please remember that an employer should not copy the Certificate or any information it contains, but can record the fact that an evaluation process was undertaken to assess content.)

With the movement to a single Certificate (DBS applications), the individual has to produce the Disclosure. This allows the applicant to present any additional information, or a clearer version of events surrounding the content on the Certificate, to the employer to assist with the process of evaluation. The employer should then try to assess the information based upon (but not limited to) the following criteria:

  • What work will the employee be doing?
  • The age of the information on the Certificate
  • What supervision is in place within the workplace?
  • Does the information revealed limit their ability to carry out their role?
  • What additional information was provided by the applicant

As a Registered Umbrella Body we can help our Clients to understand the information that is present on the Certificate, for example what is the difference between Common Assault and Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm. Unfortunately we are not able to tell you if an individual can be employed or endorsed to work in the position applied for.

For more information on this process you can view the Nacro or Unlock websites.

Open  FAQ

Miscellaneous Questions

What is a Section 128 check?

A Section 128 check, checks the names of individuals who are barred from taking part in the management of any independent or maintained school. The list is maintained by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) under the terms of direction from the Secretary of State for Education. On 1st April 2018 NCTL was repurposed, with regulation of the teaching profession passed to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), and the other functions moved to the Department for Education (DfE).

How to request a Section 128 check

There are two ways to request a Section 128 check and it will depend on the work being done.

  1. As part of a DBS check – To be included in the DBS process the application must be for an enhanced level check with a check of the child barring list* (i.e. in Regulated Activity with children). The job role entered on to the form must include ‘Independent school’ and be in the child workforce category to trigger this check
  2. Directly using the DfE website ( Access to this service is available to all educational establishments with an approver status and allows a direct request to the DfE to check an individual.

*The Department for Education wrote to proprietors of all independent schools in June 2015 setting out their requirements, which stated that any management role in the sector was considered to be carrying out Regulated activity with children.

Who can apply for a Section 128 check?

This type of check is only available for those involved in the management of a school and can not be applied to all roles within a school setting. Section 128 checks complement DBS checks by also looking at the parts of someone’s history that may not necessarily be criminal, but would still be worrying. There are different criteria and requirements between the DBS barring decision and terms of direction. The DBS may decide not to bar an individual from working with children however DfE may refer a case to the relevant decision panel to prevent that individual from managing a school. Common examples include:

Someone who undermines mutual respect for those of different faiths may not be charged with a hate crime, but the DfE may not want them associated with the management of a school

An accountant who has breached the code of ethics set out by their professional body by using confidential client information for personal gain hasn’t necessarily committed a crime, but DfE may not want them overseeing a school’s accounts

When is a section 128 direction issued?

A section 128 direction can be issued on specific grounds where the type of conviction, caution, or conduct suggests that the person is unsuitable for the management of a school. These grounds include:

  • Conviction of an offence under military disciplinary proceedings
  • Being found not guilty of an offence by reason of insanity
  • Conduct found to be in breach of professional standards by a professional body

Section 128 directions may also be issued if a person has engaged in conduct that is aimed at undermining:

  • British values
  • Rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs

What does it stop someone doing?

People with a section 128 direction can not:

  • Hold a management position in an academy, free school or independent school (as an employee)
  • Be an academy or free school trustee or member
  • Be a governor on any academy or free school board that has delegated responsibilities
  • Be a governor or member of the proprietor body of an independent school
  • Sit on the governing board of a maintained school

How can DDC assist with this process?

If you are an existing client of Due Diligence Checking Limited (DDC) and want to request Section 128 checks, please get in touch. We can easily amend the settings on your account to include this check at no extra cost. If you are not a client but want to start processing your Enhanced DBS checks and Section 128 checks for your school, academy or independent school then you can register today, free of charge.

Open  FAQ

What is the Disclosure and Barring Service?

In January 2009 the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) became operational for England and Wales taking over responsibility for creating and maintaining a list of people barred from working with children, and another for people barred from working with vulnerable adults. Anybody on the previous Department of Health list, Department of Education list or on the Sex Offenders register were included in the ISA barred lists. The ISA also has the power to bar people about whom they have received reports from other official sources such as employers, social services, the Police, Care Quality Commission etc.

In 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Bill was passed by Parliament. This had a number of clauses relating to the issuing of Disclosures, one of which was to merge the previously independent bodies of the CRB and ISA into a single non-departmental Government body to be known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Open  FAQ

How is DDC associated with the DBS?

Due Diligence Checking Ltd. are an official ‘Registered Body’ and an official ‘Umbrella Body‘ for the DBS. Registered Body status means we can submit applications to the DBS and that we have met all of the RB requirements. Umbrella Body status means that we can submit applications on behalf of other organisations that are eligible to request Criminal Record checks, but are not registered with the DBS themselves. All Umbrella Bodies are also Registered Bodies. Some Registered Bodies do not process applications for any organisation other than themselves. To view our listing on the DBS Umbrella Body database, click here.

We are also registered with Access Northern Ireland and Disclosure Scotland to process PVG Checks and Disclosures in Northern Ireland.

Open  FAQ

Can I use a Basic Disclosure for my Visa application?

Disclosures are not proof of identity, so cannot be considered an ‘identity document’. Some countries request a criminal record check prior to granting a visa, but this is usually a special service offered by ACPO. For more information we recommend contacting the authority issuing the Visa.

Open  FAQ

How can my organisation become a ‘Registered Body’?

The conditions of registration are set out in the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) (Registration) Regulations 2006. The wording within the Act will continue to refer to the Criminal Records Bureau. However, from 1 December 2012, it will apply to the DBS. To satisfy the conditions of registration you must:

  • submit over 100 DBS check applications per annum
  • be entitled to ask exempted questions under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974(Opens in a new window)
  • comply with the DBS Code of Practice
  • pay the appropriate fees in relation to applications for DBS checks, as well as registration of the organisation and countersignatories

You must also provide specific and up to date information about your business type and status to the DBS for registration to be granted. Registration costs £300, with a £5 cost for each countersignatory to be registered.

Open  FAQ

Is DDC’s SSL certificate valid?

Our data entry website (separate from this site) is protected by industry standard encryption technology, in the form of public-key SSL encryption. In practice, this means that any data sent to our servers is protected from eavesdropping. You can check the security of the connection by looking at the URL (address) bar in your internet browser. You should see a security symbol, often in the form of a green bar, in front of the URL. Also, our secure site addresses start with “https”, rather than “http”. We use Comodo. as our encryption key provider, which means that anybody can verify our security connection. If you would like to check for yourself, you can visit an SSL verification website, and enter our secure domain “” into the URL field.

Some of our clients have problems with warnings about the SSL certificate before they enter the site. Whilst we cannot attempt diagnose unknown problems on individual computers, you can be assured that we take security extremely seriously and that any security issues will be dealt with immediately. Pressing F5 may help to re-load the page and resolve any issues.

Open  FAQ

What are the March 2014 changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act?

On the 10th March 2014 the Government introduced changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012. These changes have altered the amount of time that convictions take to become classed as ‘spent’ meaning the subject does not need to reveal them to an interested party requesting such information (for example and employer). The general purpose of the Act is to reduce the amount of time it takes for an individual to be classed as rehabilitated.

For those employers who request a Basic Level Disclosure on their staff to confirm unspent conviction this will reduce the amount of time that information will be shown on a Basic Disclosure Certificate.

It is still the case that any employer requesting a Standard or Enhanced level Check as per the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (Exceptions) Order 1975 can ask for spent and unspent conviction information (subject to the Filtering Rules).

Please see the Government Website for more information on the exact time periods involved.

Open  FAQ

What is ‘Working from the Home Address’ on the DBS form?

When do I tick the ‘Working from Home Address’ box on a DBS form?

This specific question was added to DBS forms and online applications as part of the May/June 2013 changes. The applicant or person requesting the check should use this box to indicate if they (or the applicant) are carrying out the work from within their own home. This only relates to the work that requires a DBS check and the box relates to the current home address as entered on to the form. An example of a person that needs to tick this box would be a personal tutor working in their own home with children. Common roles that fall under this grouping are Physiotherapists working from their home address, private tutors and child minders providing childcare from their home address.

Applicants should not tick this box if the applicant travels to another person’s home to carry out their job function e.g. a carer visiting a Vulnerable Adult’s home to provide care. In this example, working from home would also exclude paperwork that the carer takes home as part of the caring role, as the paperwork part of the job does not require a DBS check.

Does remote working from home class as ‘Working from the Home Address’?

Remote working is not the same as ‘working from home’ for the purposes of the a DBS check. If the applicant is working from their home address and is performing their role remotely, but their work with Children or Vulnerable Adults is over the phone or the internet, the role is not considered home based. To meet the DBS  requirements the Children or Vulnerable Adults should be present in the home of the person providing teaching, instruction or other applicable Regulated Activities.

Why should this information be included?

This information ensures the criminal records check includes all results linked with that address and not just the name, address combination entered on to the form. The purpose of the check is to ensure that no other person living at the applicant’s address is unsuitable for the work being undertaken at the location e.g. the partner of a childminder living at the childminding premises. It is not uncommon for the Local Police Force to request confirmation of those living at the home address of an applicant, to fully assess the role.

Working at the Home Address and using the Update Service?

The Update Service is not suitable for those who are ‘working from their home address’ as defined by the DBS. This is primarily because the Update Service allows an employer or endorsing organisation to confirm if a Certificate has changed since it was issued, and it does not re-run any checks on the household where the work may be taking place.

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What is a DBSAF check?

What is a DBSAF check?

A DBSAF check (or Disclosure and Barring Service Adult First check) is an accelerated check of the DBS Barred List for working with Adults. It was previously called an ISAAF (or Independent Safeguarding Authority Adult First) or a POVA First (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) check. The results of the check will confirm if the individual is currently not found on the Adults Barring List, but will not confirm that the applicant is suitable for the role being offered. The only way to confirm this information is to make an employment decision based upon the full results of the requested DBS check.

Who can request a DBSAF check?

These checks are limited to those employers providing care services for adults, only in exceptional circumstances and where absolutely necessary. Following Department of Health guidelines, a person can be permitted to start work prior to the completion of their legally required DBS Certificate, although employers should not take this decision lightly, and should have additional safeguards in place for example additional supervision or monitoring.

The Registered Body that submitted the original Enhanced Level DBS application (with a check of the Adults Barred List) can request the DBSAF via the DBS website, with confirmation received via email that it is in process.

How can employers request a DBSAF check?

A DBSAF can only be requested by the Registered Body who submitted the original Enhanced Level Disclosure, once the form has been submitted and the form reference number obtained from the DBS. Clients of DDC can request this check using the bespoke online Client Area, by simply ticking this box on initiating the check, when entering basic applicant details. If this option is not currently available on your screen you can contact one of the team on 0845 644 3298 who can discuss the settings on your account and make this available. Alternatively an email can be sent to DDC Ltd requesting the DBSAF check on an applicant once the application form has been submitted.

What results will be returned?

Once the request for a DBSAF has been made, the DBS will confirm via email one of two results, normally within 48 hours:

  1. That the applicant is not found on the DBS lists for those barred from working with Adults, OR
  2. The employer should wait for the full Disclosure process to be completed, and review the issued Certificate before making an employment decision.

What will the DBSAF not show?

The DBS will not provide all the information that an Enhanced Level Disclosure will confirm as it only runs a check equal to Stage 3 of the 5 stage process for an Enhanced DBS check. It is also not suitable for those working with children and there is currently no option to run an accelerated DBS check of the U18’s Barred List.

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What is a Caution, Reprimand or Final Warning?

Below are some general guidelines designed to assist with deciding if an individual has received a caution, reprimand, final warning or a conviction. A majority of cautions, reprimands or warnings will become instantly ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This means that they will not appear on a Basic Police check, however they may appear on an Enhanced or Standard Level criminal record check (subject to the DBS Filtering Rules). There is no exhaustive list that we can provide to confirm what an offence may be classed as. If an applicant was provided with any paperwork at the time, this may confirm the outcome of the offence.

A ‘simple caution’ (for those over the age of 18 at the time of offence)

If the individual accepts responsibility for the offence they may be given a simple caution. This will normally take place at a Police Station and the individual will have signed a document accepting responsibility, although a copy of this document is not necessarily given to the individual. The individuals fingerprints and photograph will be taken by the Police.

Conditional Cautions or Youth Conditional Cautions

Conditional cautions are issued for certain offences where an individual has admitted the offence and there is sufficient evidence to charge them. The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) must agree for this type of caution, and there will be conditions attached which the individual must meet. These normally become spent after three months.

Youth cautions (formerly reprimands or final warnings issued to those aged under 18)

A youth caution is a formal verbal warning given by a police officer to a young person who admits they are guilty of a minor offence. They will normally take place at a Police station with the parent or legal guardian present. The individual will most likely be given a leaflet or additional information about the implications of receiving a final warning or formal reprimand.

If an individual is given a final warning they will be referred to a Youth Offending Team who will most likely visit the individual to assess if they require a program of rehabilitation or education. If the individual offends again within a two year period they will be required to attend court.

There is no exhaustive list that we can provide to confirm what an offence may be classed as. If an applicant was provided with any paperwork at the time, this may confirm the outcome of the offence.

Other cautions or warnings

These do not form part of an individual’s Police National Computer (PNC) record and do not need to be disclosed unless specifically asked for.

  • Verbal/street warnings
  • Harassment warnings
  • Cannabis warnings
  • Cautions issued by authorities other than the police (e.g. local council).
  • Penalty notices for disorder can also be issued for an individual over the age of 18.

The issuing authority will ask the individual to sign the penalty notice ticket and assuming the penalty is paid, it will not result in a criminal conviction. There is a facility which allows the Police to record these other cautions on the PNC and refer to them in the future. The information may be included on certain types of criminal record checks as ‘approved additional information’ if the Police feel it relates to the job role being undertaken.

How is a conviction different?

A conviction is assigned when a court of law finds and individual guilty of a crime.

More information:

What are the different levels of DBS check?

Should I choose Basic, Standard or Enhanced DBS checks for my employees?

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Why do DDC use Experian Ltd for conducting ID checks?

Experian are a well-established information management company, and have access to a large number of datasets. This means more data is available to validate against, so the higher the pass rate. Experian have been recognised by the DBS as providing an identity validation service tailored to the specific needs of the DBS ‘Route 2’ identity validation pathway. DDC conducted a review of all organisations that offer ID checks to the level required by the DBS. We felt Experian had the best depth and breadth of data and provided a very good understanding of the DBS’s requirements.

The ID check offered by Experian is not a credit check, and at no time do DDC or the Disclosure recipient have access to credit data.

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What are the security features of a DBS/CRB Certificate?

With the changes to Legislation that were introduced in June 2013, resulting in the issue of a single DBS Disclosure Certificate to the applicant only, it is more important than ever to establish that a DBS/CRB Certificate is original and genuine.

Under the current guidance it is the responsibility of the employing organisation to check that the Disclosure Certificate is original and has not been tampered with. To assist with this process the DBS have highlighted the security features on the Disclosure which should be checked. Unfortunately there is currently no way to confirm that the information contained on the Certificate is correct, as the only person made aware of this information is the subject of the check, when the Certificate is first issued.

Security Features

A DBS certificate contains a number of security features which are designed to confirm if the document is an original Certificate as issued by the DBS, and not a high resolution scan or image. These security features include:

  • 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 side
  • ink and paper that will change colour in the presence of water or solvent-based liquid

Note that the security features for a CRB certificate, issued before 1 December 2012, are the same as for the DBS certificate.

If you are unsure whether a DBS certificate is genuine or if you think that it may have been altered, you should contact the DBS on 03000 200 190.

The link to this guidance issued by the DBS is here: DBS website

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