Disclosure checks are required for so many jobs that most people who are in the market for a new role are aware of their existence. Despite this, there is a perception that all disclosure checks are the same and will show exactly the same level of detail. That’s not actually the case, and there are in fact three different levels of DBS check. Enhanced Disclosure is the most detailed level of check which you may be asked to complete.

Terminology and jargon can get confusing when talking about disclosure or criminal records check. DBS – the Disclosure and Barring Service – operates in England and Wales only. In Scotland, the official body is Disclosure Scotland and in Northern Ireland, AccessNI does the police checks. Although the names for disclosures and bodies differ, in essence they do the same thing in checking the backgrounds of people who are applying for specific job roles.


Who Needs Enhanced Disclosure?

An enhanced disclosure looks at someone’s criminal background in depth, and as such is restricted to people in certain roles. The list is extensive, but in simple terms, if you are applying for a job in health or personal care, or in a role involving access to children or vulnerable adults, you might be asked for an enhanced disclosure check. It’s the government who make the rules about which roles need enhanced checks, not the employers. An enhanced disclosure certificate will show not only your current or unspent criminal record but might also show up older offences if the Police think that it might be relevant to the role you are considering applying for. Many people think of criminal records check in terms of passing or failing but that’s not the case. Employers will look at anything which has been disclosed on your certificate and then consider whether, on balance, they still want to employ you.


How Do I Get an Enhanced DBS Check?

As enhanced disclosure is only available to people applying for specific jobs, any application has to be made through an employer. Any decent employer in a sector which requires enhanced disclosure will be well-versed in the current rules and requirements and should be able to walk you step by step through getting your certificate. The start of the process is completing the form online, then you’ll be asked to verify your identity either by entering some key pieces of information online or showing documents such as passport or driving licence to your employer. The turnaround of criminal records checks once the forms arrive at the various bodies, with lengthy delays being experienced at peak periods. It’s in your own interests to get the paperwork done as quickly as possible to minimise your wait time.

At the end of the process, the enhanced disclosure certificate will be sent out to you in the post. This gives you a chance to have a look at it before passing it on to your employer. Depending on the job you will be doing, you may even be able to start work under supervision while waiting for the certificate to arrive.