DBS Checks

If you are engaged to work with vulnerable groups including children, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is now called the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

The information here relates to law in England and Wales.  There are different rules for getting a DBS check in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Who needs a DBS check?

A DBS check may be needed for certain jobs or voluntary work, such as working with children or in healthcare.

It is up to employers - schools, music services, arts organisations, parents of pupils - whether they ask for a DBS check.

Who organises, pays for and keeps DBS checks?

Some organisations organise their own DBS check of staff as a pre-requisite to employment. They will organise and pay for it - you will need to fill in the forms and provide documents proving your identity. This usually happens if you are recruited for a permanent post. For temporary or freelance work, you may be expected to produce your own DBS certificate. You will need to organise and pay for it.

DBS checks for eligible volunteers are free of charge. This includes anyone who spends time helping people and is not being paid (apart from travel and basic expenses).  If you are a volunteer, check with your recruiting organisation to find out if you qualify for a free DBS check.

How long is a DBS check valid?

DBS checks do not have a formal period of validity - they provide employers with a report of police records at the time they are requested. It is regarded good practice to renew your DBS check every two to three years.

DBS Update Service

The DBS update service lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date online and allows employers to check a certificate online.

For an annual subscription of £13 (free for volunteers) you can have your DBS Certificate kept up-to-date and take it with you from role to role, within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required, thereby reducing the need to apply for multiple Certificates. Organisations can carry out a quick online Status check to see if an individual's Certificate is still up to date - saving you both time and money.

You can subscribe to the Update Service online at www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service. You can join the Update Service at the same time you apply for a DBS check or within 14 days of the date of issue printed on your Certificate.

How do I apply for a DBS check?

It is not possible for individuals to apply for a DBS check directly from the Disclosure and Barring Service. They can only be applied for by organisations registered as 'Umbrella Bodies'. 

If you are applying through an umbrella body, you will need to pay the charge for an enhanced DBS check, which is currently £44.  Most umbrella organisations also charge a fee to cover the cost of staff admin time in processing applications.

If you are a volunteer, a DBS check is free of charge. Check with your recruiting organisation to find out if you qualify.

Members of the Musicians' Union who are working as freelance musicians can have a DBS check processed by an umbrella organisation, Rockschool Ltd.

If you are an Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) member and are a self-employed musician or music teacher who regularly works with children, or you teach privately, you can have a DBS check processed through the ISM.

If you are a current student at Trinity Laban, it may be possible for you have a DBS check processed via Trinity Laban's Human Resources department.  Email Pamela Thompson to enquire about whether this is possible and to find out the cost.

How long will it take to process my application?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) tries to complete 90 per cent of enhanced checks within four weeks of receiving your application form.  Some applications may be delayed if you make a mistake on the application form or if you don't provide all your name and address details.  Enhanced checks also rely on getting information from the relevant police forces and this can sometimes delay your application.

How can I check the progress of my application?

You can track the progress of your application  via the DBS tracking service.

The DBS certificate

Once the check is completed, the DBS will send a certificate listing the results to both the applicant and the authorised person requesting the check.

Further help

Click here for more advice for applicants.



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