A basic DBS check certificate will list any cautions and unspent convictions which are on someone’s criminal record. This type of check is also sometimes known as a criminal records check, or CRB. In Scotland, basic disclosures are also available, although processed through a separate organisation.

Anyone can ask for a basic disclosure check at any time, for any reason. Most people who ask for a basic disclosure are either trying to get a job in the UK, or trying to prove their good character. Basic disclosure checks might also be part of the process of getting a visa to move overseas, get a licence to sell alcohol or do some sorts of voluntary work. People who are self-employed and running their own business might choose to get a basic DBS check as proof of their honesty and trustworthiness. Employers might also ask for a basic disclosure to check that applicants have been telling the truth about their police record. This isn’t a legal requirement though and it will depend on individual employers’ policies.


Applying for a Basic Disclosure

The application process for a basic disclosure is very simple, especially if you choose to do it online. First, give all of your personal data. Along with the basics of name and date of birth, you’ll be asked for all previous surnames, and an address history going back five years. You can pay for your basic disclosure online too, with a credit or debit card. Recently, the system has been upgraded to allow you to pay using ApplePay and other smartphone payment systems too.

Next, you’ll have to prove your identity. You need your National Insurance number (find it on your payslip, self-assessment paperwork or P60), your passport and driving licence. You can verify your identity online using the government’s Verify service which is a secure way of proving who you are. You will be asked to enter a range of information which can then be compared against public and private databases. It’s a fairly quick process, which takes no more than 15 minutes for most applicants.

Once you’ve given your details, paid the fee and verified who you are, you just need to push the button to submit your application, and wait. The turnaround time for DBS checks varies, but you shouldn’t have to wait more than three or four weeks for the certificate to drop into your letterbox. Keep it in a safe place as you may want to refer to it again in the future.


More Detailed Levels of Check

As an individual, you are only allowed to apply for this basic disclosure check. Standard and enhanced checks show a greater level of detail but are reserved for people working in a set list of occupations. Standard and enhanced disclosures show now only your current, unspent convictions, but might also disclose older convictions and cautions if thought to be relevant. Your employer will tell you if they need a more detailed level of check from you and help you through the application process.