The Disclosure and Barring Service is an agency responsible for processing criminal record checks and managing the Barred List. Although the Criminal Records Bureau used to deal with these requests, it merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority in 2012 to create the Disclosure and Barring Service.


What Is a DBS Check?

A DBS Check is a disclosure provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service that details criminal convictions, warnings and reprimands.


Why Is a DBS Check Needed?

A DBS Check is carried out before a person is offered a job role or volunteering position. The disclosures allow employers to make an informed hiring decision based on an individual’s background.


What Are the Different Types of DBS Checks?

Not all DBS Checks are the same. There are three different types of disclosure, which are listed as follows:

  • Basic DBS Check
  • Standard DBS Check
  • Enhanced DBS Check

An overview of what information is included in each check is detailed below.


Basic DBS Check

A Basic DBS Check will show details of unspent convictions.


Standard DBS Check

A Standard DBS Check shows details of spent and unspent convictions, plus any warnings and cautions they may have received.


Enhanced DBS

Enhanced DBS Checks contain details regarding spent and unspent convictions, warnings and cautions, and other police information.


Filtering of Convictions and Cautions

Previously, if you wanted to get a new DBS certificate, you would need to go through the process of filtering convictions and cautions. This process meant that you would not have to disclose any of your old cautions or convictions.

However, these rules have changed. The government has announced changes to the process, which came into force in 2020. These changes affect what is disclosed on Standard DBS Checks.
For example, if you have been convicted of a non-sexual offence, you will not be filtered out of the Standard DBS certificate after five and a half years. However, you would still be filtered out if you were under 18.

Also, if you have been convicted of an offence less than six months, you will not be filtered out of a Standard DBS Certificate after two years. You will also not be filtered out of a DBS certificate after seven years if you were under 18.

The government has also introduced changes to how convictions and cautions are filtered. These changes were announced in response to the Supreme Court ruling in 2019.


Filtering of Unspent Convictions

During the last five years, the Government has made significant changes to filtering unspent convictions on DBS Checks. These changes are designed to make it easier for people with convictions to find employment. These changes do not apply to all types of jobs and positions.

The changes are designed to allow for the filtering of convictions and cautions to ensure a fair interview process. Filtering is a process similar to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

This act was introduced to remove minor convictions from people’s records. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, adult custodial sentences of less than six months are not spent after two years. However, some cautions are not protected and cannot be used in decision-making.