There are numerous jobs within both the public and private sectors that require successful applicants to have what is known as a DBS check. Whether a check is required is not a decision that is made by an employer; instead, the government provides a list of occupations and positions of responsibility that require such as check to be made.
Standard disclosure

A standard disclosure is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales. Checks are made with reference to an applicant’s name(s) and address to see whether the person has received any convictions that would preclude them from working in the position for which they have applied.

A standard check will not show criminal convictions that are considered ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, nor will it show minor offences committed a considerable time ago or offences committed whilst very young; however, other spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings may be shown.

Basic disclosure


A basic disclosure, or basic DBS, is similar in some respects to a standard DBS check; however, this type of check is issued by Disclosure Scotland. A main difference between the two checks is that anyone within the UK can apply for a basic disclosure, including those who are freelance workers or who are self-employed. This differs from the standard check, which can only be accessed by potential employers or voluntary bodies. A basic check will also only show convictions that are not ‘spent’, so will provide less information than a standard disclosure.

Both types of check are designed to help employers and voluntary bodies to safeguard the workplace, and both checks will show details such as the applicant’s name, address and date of birth. There are numerous ways in which a company or voluntary body can request a DBS check, but more and more are choosing to apply for information online. Companies such as provide a quick turnaround and can enable applications to progress much faster.

More and more jobs are requiring that applicants undergo at least a basic check. Checks are valid for as long as the employer/voluntary body is happy to accept them, but it is usual practice for them to request an update at least every three years.

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