What used to be known as a CRB check is now known as a DBS check. In 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service.

What is a CRB Check?

A DBS (CRB) check is the screening of the Police National Computer (and sometimes, the Adult and Children’s Barred List) to identify an individual’s record of criminal convictions, cautions, warnings, and charges.

Why is a CRB check required?

A CRB check is a measure to help safeguard and improve the recruitment process for commercial and not-for-profit organisations. It is an attestation to the employability of an applicant or existing member of staff based on their criminal record. Even in some agencies like Millenio staff are CRB checked.

Who can request a CRB check?

An individual may request their own DBS check via the government website. This is especially useful if the nature of the individual’s work is largely temporary, moving regularly between jobs, or if an individual is self-employed. More usually though, it is a company or organisation that will request a CRB check.

DBS checks are carried out on employees in a wide range of industries. It is a common misconception that criminal records checks are restricted to those individuals who work with children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people. CBS checks go beyond the realm of healthcare workers and workers in education to include workers in financial institutions, government workers, and workers in IT and computer management. Anyone who works with vulnerable people, who has access to money, or works with sensitive data generally undergoes a DBS check. In many cases, it is a condition of employment. Certain volunteer positions (those that fall under the definition in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002) will also entail a DBS check. An individual who does not have a clear check or a crb check is not necessarily unemployable. The disclosures should be examined for relevance to the position in question.

What information is required and what information is disclosed?

The information is provided in a hard-copy certificate to the employee who will show it to the employer who will usually take a copy. The employer is able to view a digital certificate but only if the certificate is clean.

For a check to be undertaken, the person being screened must provide various pieces of identification to ensure the right person is being checked. The information will also validate the person’s identity using such indicators as National Insurance number and passport.

The information that is disclosed is dependent on the level of check requested, as follows:

  • The BASIC disclosure only details unspent convictions.
  • The STANDARD disclosure details all spent and unspent convictions, reprimands, final warnings, and cautions that have not been filtered.*
  • The ENHANCED check includes information from the Police National Computer and information from local police forces.
  • The ENHANCED with BARRED LIST check is the enhanced check with the addition of a check of the Adult and Children’s Barred List.
  • There is also a separate check of the Adult’s Barred List available known as ADULT DBS FIRST check.

All disclosures are made in accordance with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations.

*Some offences will be filtered from police records. Information on which such offences can be found on the Government’s website.