CRB checks are often an integral part of an employer or organisation’s safeguarding process to help them make safer recruitment and licensing decisions. These are also known as DBS checks because they are carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which comes under the Home Office umbrella.

A CRB or a DBS check is just one part of taking someone on though and as an employer you should follow the full recruitment process with other aspects such as references and comprehensive job application forms.

DBS checking, sometimes referred to CRB checks, has different levels and each is relevant to different jobs sectors. For example, hairdressers and personal licence holders only require a basic CRB check, while healthcare workers and child minders need an enhanced CRB check.


Basic CRB check

It is available to anyone who requires this type of clearance and an individual can apply for it themselves. It contains any convictions or cautions that are unspent. You can provide a relevant party with your application’s reference number and a one-off password so that they can access the clearance online.

Examples of job roles: architect, blacksmith, gamekeeper, milkman, hairdresser, publicans, airport personnel and journalists.


Standard CRB check

Its information is more detailed than a basic CRB check. It contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, reprimands and final warnings that are held on the Police National Computer (PNC) system.

This type of check cannot be carried out if the job you are applying isn’t eligible. So, for example, if you take a personal licence and your brewery decides you need a standard CRB check, this position won’t meet the criteria of the background screening and will be denied by the DBS. You cannot apply for this yourself and has to be requested by your potential employer or an online CRB check service that is registered with the DBS.

Examples of job roles: solicitor, mortgage advisor, bank manager, traffic warden and vet.


Enhanced DBS check

This is a thorough check providing details of all convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that is held on the Police National Computer (PNC).

It will reveal any other information held by the police that will is relevant to the role you are applying for.

It won’t be granted by the DBS unless it is relevant to the work you will be doing. Like a standard check, you can’t request this yourself.

Examples of job roles: taxi driver, probation officer, school governor, minister of religion, librarian, mountain rescuer.


Enhanced with Barring

This contains the same information as an enhanced screening, but it also includes a check of the children and adult’s barred list. This list has every name of individuals who are barred from working with vulnerable adults or children. This check is usually carried out by an organisation or a recruitment agent representing you for job involved in taking care of, supervising children or vulnerable adults.

Examples of job roles: doctor, nurse, midwife, podiatrist, teacher, physiotherapist, osteopath, road safety officer.


Is it good practice to screen my employees?

This is going to depend on the industry you are in. It is a recommendation though, that all job applicants are screened in some way to protect you company and clients against any malpractice. If your organisation works with the young and vulnerable adults then it is law that your staff are given enhanced and barred list clearance before they start working for you.

A CRB check doesn’t cost a lot and has a short turnaround time (five working days for the standard and enhanced checks to 10 working days for the basic CRB check).