DBS Checks – The Basics

Most personal assistants will at some time in their career be asked to provide a DBS check because they are working where there are children or vulnerable people. This bulletin summarises some essential information to help you understand what they are, the process for getting one and who might need to have one.

What is DBS?

DBS stands for Disclosure and Barring Service. It has replaced the Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. They process DBS checks and decide whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from the barred list.

Different levels of checks.

There are different levels of disclosure:

  • Standard Disclosure (£26) – this checks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
  • Enhanced Disclosures (£44) – this includes the same with the standard check plus any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the role being applied for.
  • Enhanced with List Checks (£44) – this is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists. An employer can only ask for this for specific roles such as when working with children or providing personal care for older or disabled people.
  • Basic Disclosures (£25) – this is not the same as a DBS check. You can request a basic disclosure yourself. It only shows details of any unspent convictions. They are supplied by Disclosure Scotland.
    Click here to visit the Disclosure Scotland website.

If you are unsure if you need a DBS check then use the simple online checking tool:

Click here to open the Online Checking Tool in a new tab.

Alternatively, contact the DBS Helpline using the details at the bottom of this article.

What is the process?

Your employer, or potential employer, will get an application form from a registered organisation. Individual employers and PA’s cannot request a DBS check themselves. They must go through a local registered organisation. This will either be the Local Authority, NHS organisation or local Direct Payment Service Provider/support organisation that employs someone able to make a decision on an individual’s suitability for employment as a PA.

The PA will complete the form and return it along with 3 documents proving their identity to the registered organisation. Examples of documents required will include a combination of Passport, driving licence, birth or marriage certificate, bank statement, P 60/P 45 – guidance is provided on the application form.

The PA is sent a certificate detailing the results of their check which they need to share with the relevant person within the registered organisation who is able to make the ‘suitability decision’.

The employer has to ask the PA to see the certificate. The employer cannot make the suitability decision.

If a DBS certificate indicates that somebody appears on the barred list, then they cannot be employed. The person making the suitability decision will tell an employer they cannot employ that person. If an individual is on the adults barred list, seeking employment in regulated activity with an adult is a criminal offence

Update Service.

You can register to use the Update Service for just £13 per year. If you’ve not yet applied for a DBS check you can register for the update service using your application reference number. DBS must receive your form within 28 days.
If you have already applied, you can register for the update service using your DBS certificate number within 19 days of the certificate being issued. Registered organisations can then check the PAs certificate online, if they have your permission to do so.
Please remember that a DBS check is not a guarantee of someone suitability to be a PA for a certain individual. It should be seen as a useful (often essential) tool in the recruitment process.

Further Help and Advice.

DBS customer services

Email: customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 0300 0200 190