DBS Checks

Frequently Asked Questions about DBS Checks (Formerly CRB checks)

Please note, although we provide a standard and enhanced DBS checking service, we are not the DBS. If you would like to contact the Disclosure and Barring Service, you can call 0300 0200 190 or click here to visit their website.

We understand the process of DBS checking can be a complex issue and often leaves applicants and employers with a lot of questions. So our DBS Team have put their heads together to create this list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you can't find what you're looking for, or would like further information please give us a call on 01379 871091, use the link on the left to chat with us live, or email help@safecic.co.uk with your questions and we will do our best to help.


To purchase DBS checks click here


Did You Know?

If you or your organisation requires DBS checks, you will also require the appropriate safeguarding training. You can purchase safeguarding training by clicking here or find out what is required by clicking the quick reference flowchart below or its sector counterparts:

General Business Best Practice Flowchart 
General Practice Flowchart newvideographic
SAFEcic has also created tailored flowcharts for these sectors;

Dental Sector

Dental Flowchart

Charities Sector

Charities Flowchart

Education Sector

Education Flowchart


Leisure Sector

 Leisure Sector Flowchart

Faith Groups

Faith Groups Flowchart

General Practice and PMS

GP and PMS Flowchart


Please note: This FAQ is designed for the organisations and applicants who are using (or who wish to use) SAFEcic's DBS Checking Service. If you are using a different DBS provider for your application, we would recommend that you contact that provider, or the DBS directly if you have any queries as we will be unable to assist you.

To contact the DBS: you can phone 0300 0200 190 or click here to visit their website.

To purchase DBS checks click here

 General Queries:

Applicant FAQs

Filtering and the DBS Update Service FAQs:


What is a DBS check?

Previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a record of an individual's relevant criminal history and may also contain police intelligence and DBS barred list information (depending on the level of check). The purpose of a DBS check is to assist employers in making a recruitment decision.

What happened to the CRB and ISA?

On December 1st 2012, as part of the many changes brought about by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) closed and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was formed to take their place.

The DBS continues to be responsible for the functions previously carried out by the CRB and ISA with the exception of the ISA Registration Scheme, which has been discontinued. The DBS also carry out Basic level DBS checks for applicants in England or Wales (a function previously carried out by Disclosure Scotland).

Who Needs a DBS Check?

If there is ever a safeguarding issue within your organisation and the people working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults have not been adequately checked, your organisation could be held legally liable. To prevent this possibility SAFE advises standard or enhanced DBS checks are conducted on all eligible staff and volunteers within your organisation.

The DBS have issued various guides to help you determine eligibility within your sector, including this rather handy "Eligibility Tool". 

To purchase credits for our standard or enhanced DBS checking service, click here.

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Who can ask for a DBS check?

Organisations can request that their staff, volunteers or applicants have standard or enhanced DBS checks only if the post they are working/volunteering/applying for is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Click here to see the DBS' own guide on exempt positions that are eligible for a DBS check. To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

For roles that are covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, employers can request Basic criminal record checks via Disclosure Scotland (for applicants in Scotland), the DBS (for applicants in England or Wales) or Access NI (for applicants in Northern Ireland).

How do I get myself DBS checked?

The purpose of a standard or enhanced DBS check is to aid employers and organisations in a recruitment decision. As such, individuals cannot DBS check themselves at standard or enhanced level: there must be an employer/recruiting organisation involved. Individuals can, however, apply for a basic disclosure directly through the DBS (England and Wales), Disclosure Scotland (Scotland), or Access NI (Northern Ireland) - a basic disclosure only shows unspent information.

If you are an individual and simply wish to know what information the police hold about you on the Police National Computer (PNC), you can submit a Subject Access Request to the ACRO Criminal Records Office. To find out what information the police hold locally, you can submit a subject access request to the relevant police force. The response to a subject access form cannot be used in place of a DBS check.

Do we have to DBS check our staff?

SAFE recommends that all eligible volunteers and workers within your organisation are standard or enhanced DBS checked (as appropriate). To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

What types of checks are there?

There are four different levels of criminal record check available:

To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

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How much do DBS checks cost?

Type of Credit Price
DBS checking service for volunteers (Standard or Enhanced) £12
Standard DBS checking service for paid positions £35
Enhanced DBS checking service for paid positions (with or without barred list checks) £52


Admin fees are included in the cost. Some applications may require external ID validation that will incur a one time fee of £10 per applicant, this is a service only available upon arrangement.

To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

How long does a DBS check take?

Once we receive a completed DBS form at our office, we will process it within 2 working days. If everything is OK, we will then forward the application on to the DBS.

The DBS aim to complete:

If you would like to follow the progress of your own or your volunteer/staff member's application once it is with the DBS, you can do so using the DBS tracking service.

How long does a CRB/DBS check last?

A DBS/CRB certificate is only truly accurate on the day it was issued. As such, there is no official expiration or renewal date for a DBS or CRB check. Your organisation should perform a risk assessment and have a policy in place on how often you will perform new DBS checks on existing staff. If a member of staff is on the Update Service, you may check this regularly (with the applicant's permission) and again, have a risk assessment and written policy on how often you will check the status of their certificate.

If you are a regulated organisation (i.e. CQC or Ofsted registered), your regulating body may already have guidance in place on the renewal of DBS checks and the use of the Update Service.

How do I get a CRB / DBS check for my Personal Licence?

You will need a basic disclosure for your personal licence. If you are in England or Wales you can apply for a Basic Disclosure directly through the DBS, if you are in Scotland you can apply through Disclosure Scotland and if you are in Northern Ireland, you should apply for a basic disclosure through Access NI


Do you do List 99 / POCA / POVA Checks?

List 99 and POCA cases are both maintained by the Disclosure and Barring Service (previously Independent Safeguarding Authority) and are now known as the DBS Children's Barred List. We can request a children's barred list check (where appropriate) as part of an enhanced DBS application.

Similarly, POVA is now the DBS Adults' Barred List and we can request an adults' barred list check (where appropriate) as part of an enhanced DBS application.

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What ID do I need to send with my application form?

Click here to see our ID guidance (pdf) for UK Nationals and also EEA or Swiss Nationals who have been in the UK for more than 5 years.

Click here to see our ID guidance (pdf) for EEA or Swiss Nationals who have been in the UK for 5 years or less.

Click here to see our ID guidance (pdf) for Non-EEA Nationals.

Click here to see the Disclosure and Barring Service's guidance that we must adhere to.


What will show up on my DBS check?

The information shown on your DBS check will depend on the level of check that you apply for. There are four levels of DBS checks currently available:

A basic check will show any unspent convictions and conditional cautions.

A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering.

An enhanced check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. Intelligence held by the police may also be included if the Police reasonably believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision*.

An enhanced check with DBS Barred list check will show the same information as an enhanced check along with any information held on the barred list(s) being checked (Children's, Adults' or Both).

Who will get a copy of my DBS certificate?

If your certificate was issued on, or after, June 17th 2013, only you will receive a copy or your certificate. This copy will be sent to the current address that you provided in section B of the application form. Certificates issued before this date will have been issued in duplicate, one copy would be sent to your current address and one copy sent to our DBS team here at SAFEcic.

Where do I have to send my ID and form?

Please send your completed form and the relevant ID to our office at:

SAFEcic, Unit 10, Progress Way, Mid Suffolk Business Park, EYE, IP23 7HU

Do I have to send you my ID?

We have a responsibility to verify the identity of all our applicants, this means that you will have to send us your ID with your application form.

To verify an applicant's identity, we have to follow the Routes of Identification as laid out by the DBS. Further information can be found here (opens new window).

Can you accept photocopies?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or documents that you have printed yourself, we must see the original document and it must have been issued by the relevant organisation. i.e. we cannot accept an online bank statement printed off by an applicant, but we can accept a paper statement issued directly by the bank.

What do you do with my ID?

We use the documents to verify the information you have provided on your form. On the same working day that we receive them, we return your documents to the to the current address as supplied on your DBS application form. If you would like your documents to be returned to a different address (i.e. work), please indicate this in writing when you send us the documents. We send all Identity Documents using Royal Mail, Second Class Recorded Delivery.

If you would like us to use Royal Mail's 'Special Delivery' service, please include a prepaid special delivery envelope with your documents.

Please note: DBS certificates are issued by the DBS (not SAFEcic) and will be sent 2nd class to the address that you specified in section B of your application form. The certificate can not be sent by any other delivery method or to any other address.

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What happens once you have my form?

Once we have your form, we will use your ID documents to verify the information you have provided and then return your ID to you. If we require further ID or information, we will contact you.

Once we have everything we need, we will sign off your form and forward it to the DBS. The DBS aim to complete process 75% of all applications within 14 days and 99% of applications within 60 days.

The DBS will then issue your DBS certificate and send it second class to the address you have supplied on your application form.

I can't supply enough ID, what do I do now?

Please get in touch if you are having difficulty providing enough identity documents, we will work with you to try and find the best solution.

I've lost/accidentally damaged my certificate, can you replace it?

Unfortunately, we cannot replace lost or damaged certificates.

I haven't received my certificate yet?

You can follow the progress of your application once it's with the DBS using the DBS tracking service. This will show you the stage your application is in. If your application has been in 'Stage 4' for more than 60 days,we can submit an escalation request to the DBS (please note, we can only request escalations for applicants who have used our DBS checking service, if you have used a different organisation you will need to contact them or talk to the DBS directly).

If your certificate has been issued and you haven't received it within 14 days of the issue/dispatch date, you will need to complete a reprint request form and submit to the DBS. The Reprint Request forms and further guidance can be found here. 

The DBS are unable to replace lost or destroyed certificates and they can only reissue a certificate to the address that you provided in section b of your application form (this cannot be changed). You must make your request within 3 months (93 calendar days) of the certificate being issued. 

I've changed my address since my last DBS check, how do I update my details?

Unfortunately, there is no way to update the details shown on a DBS certificate. Currently, the only way to have your new information show on a certificate is to undergo a new DBS check.

Can my employer keep my certificate?

They can with your permission, however the certificate is your property and unless your organisation is an establishment regulated by Ofsted, CSSIW or a registered care home inspected by the CQC; there is usually no need for an employer to retain or photocopy a DBS certificate any longer than is necesary for a recruitment decision to be made. 

Will an s136 show up on my DBS certificate?

It will not show up on a standard level check, but it may show on an enhanced DBS check. On an enhanced DBS check, the police have the power to include any information they hold about the applicant if they believe it would be relevant to a recruitment decision, including information relating to an s136. As an applicant, you have the power to challenge any information revealed on your certificate before you show it to your employer.

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What is Filtering?

Filtering or 'weeding' is the process the DBS use to determine whether information is 'protected' by current legislation and should be removed from a person's DBS certificate before it is printed.

Filtering of Convictions

If an applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of the offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

Filtering of Cautions

If the applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of offence, the caution will be elgible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the caution will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

NB: prior to May 29th 2013, nothing was filtered from an applicant's certificate. This change to procedure and the introduction of Filtering came about as a result of a Court of Appeal ruling in January 2013 which allowed for new legislation to be introduced.

In light of the recent High Court ruling regarding convictions for solicitation, we anticipate further changes to this process in the near future.

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What is the DBS Update Service?

The DBS update service is a yearly subscription service provided directly by the DBS for applicants. Currently the service costs £13 per applicant per year (or free for volunteers).

If the DBS applicant subscribes to the service (this must be done around the time of their application) their DBS information will be securely stored online, allowing the applicant or their employer to check the status of the certificate at any time. Instead of renewing DBS applications every few years, employers will only have to request a new DBS check be undertaken if the update service shows information has changed (or if they require a different level of check).

The service is fully portable - allowing applicants to carry their certificate between different employments, providing the new employment is in the same workforce and requires the same level of check.

If you would like to know more, you can visit the DBS Update Service page, or check out these informational youtube videos launched by the DBS: found here (for employers) and here (for applicants).


How do I sign up for the Update Service?

You can sign up to the update service on the DBS website when you apply for a the DBS check that you wish to keep updated: Applicants can subscribe prior to submitting an application as long as they have their application form number (found in the top right corner of the front page, starting 'F0...'). However, SAFE recommends that the applicant waits until the DBS has received the application before subscribing, as the application form may be replaced or delayed before submission to the DBS.

To check whether the DBS have received an application form, and to check it's subsequent progress, you can use the DBS tracking service found here.

Once a DBS certificate has been issued, the applicant has 30 days from the date of issue left to subscribe. Subscribing after a certificate has been issued can be done using the certificate number (found in the top right of the certificate, starting '001...').


Can I add an old certificate to the update service

Unfortunately no, only applications that have been received by the DBS on or after June 17th 2013 will be eligible for the Update Service and those applications can only be added to the update service if they are registered before (or within 30 days of) the certificate being issued.


Can I sign up my staff for the Update Service?

No, your staff must sign up to the update service themselves. Only the applicant should register their application/certificate.

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Do you provide the Update Service?

The update service is provided and managed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), to subscribe to the update service, applicants must do so directly through the DBS and not through SAFEcic.

When can I use the Update Service to check my personnel?

To check a person's details using the update service, that person must have:

AND you must have:

*For instance, if your member of staff has received an enhanced check with adults barred list check, but you are only lawfully allowed to see an enhanced check with no barred list checks, you should not use the update service and should instead ask the staff member to apply for a new DBS check at the appropriate level.

How do I use the Update Service to check my personnel's DBS certificates?

If the applicant has subscribed to the Update Service and you have their permission, DBS certificate information and can lawfully use their DBS information, log on to the Update Service here and enter your details, once you click through, you will be prompted to provide the information for the DBS certificate you wish to check. You will then be shown the status of that certificate.

The status shown will be one of the following:

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This page was last reviewed in January 2018 and is correct to the best of our knowledge. If you spot anything that's not quite right, please do let us know by emailing rachel.carter@safecic.co.uk