Why we do an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check and what you must tell us.

The Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.


Work within the People and Communities Department involves substantial access to young people and is therefore exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Therefore all staff and volunteers are required to declare any pending prosecutions or convictions they may have, even if they would be otherwise regarded as ‘spent’ under this act, as well as any cautions or bind-over orders.


The disclosure of a criminal record, or other information, will not necessarily debar the person from volunteering unless the Council considers that the conviction renders the person unsuitable for appointment. In making this decision, the Council will consider the nature of the offence, how long ago and what age the person was when it was committed and any other factors that may be relevant. However, failure to declare a conviction, caution or bind-over could result in the end of the volunteering opportunity if any discrepancy subsequently came to light.


Organisations who work with children and/or vulnerable adults need to obtain a DBS check for any staff, paid or unpaid, before employing them or using them as volunteers. This should include all staff and volunteers, including the board and trustees.

A DBS check is also sometimes referred to as an Enhanced Disclosure. This is because once someone has had a DBS check, they are issued with a document called an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate.


You cannot take someone's word that they have a current DBS check: you must ask to see their current Enhanced Disclosure Certificate. If they require a new DBS check then you cannot allow them to start work – even supervised – before you know the outcome of the check.


More detailed information about DBS checks is provided in the answers to the questions below.


The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.


A DBS check may be needed for:


  • certain jobs or voluntary work - like working with children, or in healthcare
  • applying to foster or adopt a child


Who can ask for a DBS check

Normally, employers aren’t allowed to ask job applicants about spent convictions, but for jobs that need a DBS check this rule doesn’t apply.

If you’re the person being checked - ‘the applicant’ - the employer will give you a form to fill in and return to them along with documents proving your identity.

You can’t do a criminal records check on yourself.


Types of criminal records check

There are 3 types of check. The employer or organisation running the check should provide the applicant with more information about the level of check required.


Type of check and cost
What it will check for
How long it normally takes

Standard - £26

Spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings

About 2 weeks

Enhanced - £44

As above - plus any additional information held locally by police forces that’s reasonably considered relevant to the post applied for

About 4 weeks

Enhanced with list checks - £44

As above - plus a check of the appropriate DBS barred lists

About 4 weeks


An employer must not apply for a check unless the job or role is eligible for one. They must tell the applicant why they’re being checked, and where they can get independent advice.


A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if they think a new check is needed.


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