Thousands of people in the UK undergo the process of DBS checking annually, or the similar PVG checking in Scotland or AccessNI checks in Northern Ireland. This process is all about giving future employers or voluntary organisations information about your criminal record, and to flag up anything on your police record which might have an impact on your suitability to work with children or groups of vulnerable adults. The first part of this process is to prove who you are so that the employer can be sure that the checks are being carried out on the correct identity, and proving where you live so the information can be tied together and your certificate can be posted to your home address. DBS has strict rules about what sort of documents are acceptable as proof of your address.

Types of Documentation

The Disclosure and Barring Service groups documents into categories and requires that applicants produce a certain combination of documents. There is comprehensive guidance on the government website about which documents can be used in combination with other documents. Most applicants will produce a so-called Primary document such as a passport, driving licence or adoption certificate along with other documents which combine names with address details.

Trusted Government Documents

The first group of documents is termed Trusted Government Documents, which includes items such as an ID card from the UK Armed Forces, an older paper-style driving licence, a marriage certificate or a firearms licence. If none of these documents are available, then other documents can be used instead.

Financial and Social History Documents

Applicants will also be asked to provide other documents which prove their identity and address. These are official documents issued by financial institutions such as a mortgage provider based in the UK, a bank statement, credit card bill, utility bill for water, electricity or gas, or a Council Tax bill. These documents must be recent, usually issued within the last three months. If you don’t have these documents because you have opted to receive bank or mortgage statements electronically, request copies from the financial services providers, but they may charge you for producing those.

Providing Documents

Documents don’t have to be sent away to the DBS for checking. The first stage of the process is taking your completed application form along with your proof of address and identity to an approved person within the organisation where you intend to work and volunteer. They will check the documents and certify that they are in order, and correct. You will not need to provide photocopies or original documents to the DBS for them to keep. If you are unsure which of your documents to take to prove your address for a DBS check the best advice is to take as many as you can, and allow the person performing the check to decide which ones they need to see. If you are unable to provide documentation because you have only recently arrived in the UK or are under the age of 18, seek advice from the person requesting the DBS check as to the best course of action.