When we talk about the best way to apply for a DBS check, we really mean the fastest way. Everyone wants to speed through their criminal records check as quickly as they can, without any problems and hold-ups along the way. There is a number of options for getting your certificate, but you might not have the choice of all of the options listed below. Check with your employer as they might have their own ideas about how they want things done.


Do It Yourself

If you want a basic disclosure, then you have the greatest number of options. A basic DBS is the only type of check which you can apply for yourself. The best way to get a basic disclosure is to go online. You can manage the whole process from filling in the form to making the payment and proving your identity from the comfort of your sofa. The other benefit of using an online service is that the application is received at the DBS as soon as you hit the send button; there is no chance of it getting lost in the postal service either.


Employers and Umbrella Bodies

If you need a disclosure in connection with a job or voluntary position, you are not in a position to choose what type of check you get. This is determined by the role you will be doing. You may still be asked for a basic disclosure but could also be asked for a standard or enhanced disclosure check. These more detailed levels of checks can only be done if the job requires it, and you have to apply through an employer or umbrella body. An employer is self-explanatory, but the term “umbrella body” can cause confusion.

There are several different types of umbrella body. Organisations such as the Scouts or Football Association, which look after lots of local clubs across the UK are one type of umbrella body. Even though a scout troop or local football club runs independently, they are affiliated to a larger body which will help with DBS processing. In other cases, third party bodies which help applicants through the DBS process are also registered as umbrella bodies.


Pen and Paper

Not all employers and organisations have moved with the times, and many are still using the old-fashioned pen and paper method. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about getting people to fill in a paper form, but it certainly takes longer and involves postage delays too. If you cannot verify your identity online, it might also involve a trip to your new employer or umbrella body with your identity documents.



A few years ago, delays in issuing DBS certificates were commonplace. The picture has improved considerably, but there are still bottlenecks in the system in some parts of the country. Some times of the year are slower than others. Minimise delays where you can by taking care over the application form. If you have any queries or are not sure what to fill in, check rather than guessing.