Have you ever been in the situation of not understanding what someone is telling you because of the quantity of jargon and abbreviations they use. If you’re an expert in a subject then using jargon becomes second nature but don’t fall into the trap of thinking everyone else has the same level of understanding as you. Here’s some of the terms you’ll come across in connection with DBS, and what it all means.

DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service. This is the official organisation which vets people applying for certain professions, usually those involving working with children or vulnerable adults.

CRB – Criminal Records Bureau. CRB is still a term you’ll see in common usage, but it is out of date as the CRB checking system has been replaced by DBS. People also mistakenly talk about “getting a CRB check”.

Disclosure – this is the form which is issued by the DBS. It is sent to the person who the details refer to, not to the employer. The form will list details which the police hold, such as criminal convictions, cautions and other information, depending on the type of check being done.

Basic Disclosure – this is the lowest level of checking, and is used for people who (for example) work in hospitals but without direct patient contact, or who are applying for certain jobs in the law.

Enhanced Disclosure – a more detailed type of checking which is carried out on people working directly with vulnerable groups such as children or adults with disabilities. Employers will know the type of checking required for a specific job.

DBS Update – an optional service which allows users to log on to the DBS website and check their status, and permit employers to do likewise. An additional annual subscription is charged for this.

Barred Lists – official lists are kept of people who have committed offences in the past and are legally banned from working with children or other groups. Depending on the level of check, these lists will be checked against the details provided.

Disclosure Scotland – the Scottish body responsible for vetting people applying to work with children or vulnerable adults anywhere in Scotland.

PVG – Disclosure Scotland operates the PVG scheme, or Protecting Vulnerable Groups. People talk about “PVG checks” or “PVG forms” and this is broadly similar to DBS.
AccessNI – In Northern Ireland, this is the organisation which administers the background checks.

Spent Convictions – The British legal system allows a conviction to be considered as spent or disregarded after a certain period of time, which means they will no longer appear on a basic disclosure. Spent convictions may still appear on an enhanced disclosure.

Caution – A caution is a formal notice issued by the Police after a minor offence is committed. Cautions may also show on an enhanced disclosure depending on the type of offence.

Identity – when applying for any type of background check the first step is to identify who you are. You will be asked to provide photographic identification such as passport or driving licence to proof who you are.