What is a Disclosure and Barring Service check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a record of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions.

A DBS check helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.

The Disclosure and Barring Service replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

Who conducts the DBS service?

DBS Checks are undertaken by the Disclosure and Barring Service, who search police records, and in relevant cases barred list information, before issuing a DBS certificate to the candidate; for further information you can visit the DBS website.

Who requires a DBS?

A DBS check is done on an individual person; however, it relates to the job which that individual is being recruited into. The need for a DBS check will depend on the requirements of the role.

DBS checks should only be carried out as part of the successful candidate’s pre-employment checks.

What are the types of DBS?

There are four levels of DBS check:

  • Basic - is for any purpose, including employment. The certificate will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

  • Standard - A standard DBS check is suitable for certain roles, such as a security guard. The certificate will contain details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer, which are not subject to filtering.

  • Enhanced - An enhanced DBS check is suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care. An enhanced check is also suitable for a small number of other roles such as taxi licence applications or people working in the Gambling Commission.

  • Enhanced with Barred List - Where requested, an enhanced certificate will also include a check of one or both of the DBS barred lists. If an individual is listed, this will appear on their DBS certificate.

Further guidance on types of DBS including details of the information provided within each level of DBS certificate can be found on the website.

How do I know which type of DBS should be applied for?

If you are unsure if a DBS check is required for a role or the level of check required for a role, please refer to the DBS website to compare their specifications for a DBS check to the Job Description (JD) for your post. Alternatively, you can use the DBS eligibility tool for guidance.

HR Shared Services (HRSS) do not decide who requires a DBS check.

If you are still unsure whether a DBS is required for the role, please contact the NHS England (NHSE) Human Resources and Organisation Development (HR and OD) team for further guidance.

How is a DBS completed by the candidate?

Immediately after a candidate receives their offer letter, they’ll receive a DPEC request from Amiqus. They must complete the DBS application included as well as all others requested before the DBS check can be submitted to DBS.

Once the DPEC request is complete, HRSS will check the candidates Identity (ID) and Right to Work (RTW) documents and submit the application to DBS.

If the candidates DBS clears with no issues, a certificate will be posted to the candidate and Trac will update the 'Convictions' status to show as 'Success'.

If the DBS is returned with comments and therefore cannot be cleared, the 'Convictions' status will show as 'Await certificate'. If a DBS is returned as await certificate, HRSS will email the candidate copying in the Recruiting Manager (RM) and request that they arrange that the DBS certificate to be reviewed by the HR&OD team. HRSS will not proceed with the DBS check until confirmation has been received by HR&OD to proceed.

Further Guidance

Information about processing DBS checks through Trac can be found on the Trac website.

To find guidance on re-downloading a DBS certificate please go to the ‘DBS certificate reprint guide’ for the most up to date information.