What Are the Different Types of DBS Checks?

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The different types of DBS checks are basic, standard, and enhanced. A basic statement gives information about unspent convictions and cautions. Enhanced DBS checks reveal whether someone is on the Adult’s or Children’s Barred List. They also conduct a more detailed search against police records. These are required for roles in the following sectors:


A basic level check is a criminal record disclosure that can be carried out for any position and purpose. It will show all convictions and conditional cautions considered unspent by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. A basic check is available to anyone who requires certification and can be applied directly through the DBS website. It is not, however, recommended for individuals who require a standard or enhanced DBS check to apply themselves, as this must be done through a Responsible Organisation.

An RO is an organization that has registered with the DBS to submit standard and enhanced checks on behalf of its employees and applicants. They are legally allowed to ask an ‘exempted question’ and register candidates for the DBS Update Service, which allows them to keep their certificate current. It is a legal requirement that an employer, agency, or other registered body must physically see the ID documents of anyone applying for a DBS check before they are submitted to the DBS.

Enhanced DBS checks are only requested for roles that involve ‘regulated activity’ with children and vulnerable adults. This ensures that people who pose a risk to these groups are not working in positions where they can come into contact with them. The DBS eligibility tool and guidance can help employers decide if an enhanced DBS check is required for their role.

An Enhanced DBS check shows all of the information on a standard DBS check, plus any filtered convictions, warnings, and reprimands held on the police national computer. It will also include a check of the DBS Barred Lists to see if an individual is listed. This can be useful for organizations that employ care workers, social workers, and health and wellbeing professionals or who work with the public in any capacity.


Many people are confused about the types of DBS checks, and it’s not surprising, given the varying levels of information that can be revealed. The levels aren’t random; they relate to the kind of work a role will involve. Some positions will be deemed ‘regulated activities’, meaning you must undergo a higher level check.

When a standard DBS check is carried out, it will reveal all of your unspent convictions (unless the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act protects them). It will also disclose any older criminal information that is felt to be relevant to the position you’re applying for. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis, and the DBS will consider factors such as age at the time of offense, seriousness, and frequency of offenses.

A standard DBS can be applied for directly through the DBS, or an employer can request one on behalf of their employee or applicant. The process only takes up to 14 days, and the certificate will detail any unspent convictions or conditional cautions.

Some employers may choose to conduct a standard DBS on all employees regardless of the type of work they do to ensure the safety and security of vulnerable people. Other employers will decide only to carry out a DBS check on those who are likely to come into contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as staff in the healthcare sector, e.g., doctors, nurses, and dentists, as well as employees in the legal sector, e.g., lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries.

You are entitled to ask your employer to carry out a basic DBS check, and they are obliged to do so unless it is exempt from the DBS rules under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. It is important to remember that you cannot be discriminated against based on your criminal record and that your employer must be satisfied that the level of DBS check required is proportionate to the nature of your work.


Enhanced checks can uncover a lot more information than standard checks. They show all spent and unspent convictions, warnings, and reprimands and check against the Children and Adult Barred Lists. This is useful for people who work directly with vulnerable groups like children, elderly adults, or those receiving healthcare services. It also covers people in regulated activity who may have contact with them, such as teachers or taxi drivers.

The Enhanced check will include any additional police information that the local force feels is relevant to the role you are applying for. It can include ongoing investigations, allegations, or concerns that have not yet been formally recorded as a criminal offense. It will also include details of arrests that have not been convicted but could lead to prosecution or caution. It’s important to note that an Enhanced with Barred Lists check will not show any criminal records currently barred by law from working with vulnerable groups, such as those listed in the DBS barring lists (List 99 for adults and List 127 for children).

Individuals can’t request a DBS check; a recruiting organization must apply for them. This is typically done by an umbrella body, which will send an application form to the applicant for them to complete and sign, along with identification documents. Once DBS has processed the application, the Registered Body will issue a certificate to the applicant, which contains all the criminal record information that DBS has found.

The process can take 1-14 days, depending on the type of check and how much information needs to be checked. It can be more time-consuming if there are any errors on the application form or if multiple police forces need to be involved in the verification process.


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