Disclosure and Barring Service checks, also known as criminal records, checks or disclosure checks, are taking longer than usual to come back at the moment, mainly due to ongoing pandemic delays. It can be frustrating to experience lengthy delays when you’re waiting to start a new job, and there’s nothing you can do about delays caused by DBS processes and procedures. There is however a lot you can do to ensure everything is in order before your form arrives at the DBS in order to eliminate delay caused by human error. But what are the most common mistakes people make when completing their disclosure forms?


Address History Incomplete

DBS require a 5-year address history for all levels of checks. This means that you must list every address where you were resident in that time period, even if they were temporary. You don’t need to give holiday accommodation addresses, or friends’ addresses if you stayed with them now and again, but do need to give all permanent addresses, including postcodes. Don’t leave any gaps as this could lead to your form being rejected, so if you were travelling overseas or sofa-surfing with no fixed address, tell them. It’s always best to clarify an unusual address query with the DBS rather than guessing at the right answer. Forms without the correct address history will probably be rejected immediately, putting you back to the start of the process and potentially putting you out of pocket too.


Name Mistakes

The form will ask for all names you have used or have been known by. This just doesn’t just mean changes in surname if you’ve got married or divorced, it means given names too. So, if you switch between using your first name or middle name, or are officially Victoria but known to everyone as Vicky, then declare all of your names in full. Again, if you’re confused about what you should or should not be listing in terms of names, give the DBS a ring for clarification.



When you’re filling in forms online, it’s so easy to make spelling mistakes or typos, especially when distracted. It can also be really difficult to spot your own mistakes when proofreading, so ask a friend or colleague to check it over for you before submitting. If you do make a mistake by typing a name as “Jnae” rather than Jane, someone from the DBS will probably get in touch to clarify. But this obviously takes time and will delay your form progressing to the next stage of checking.



Take some time to read through the requirements for documents to support your identity and understand the rules. Photocopies and printouts can’t be accepted for example, so if you turn up with those, you’ll be sent away to source originals, creating delay. This is particularly an issue with bills and bank statements as so many of us manage money digitally. Look through the list of approved documents as early as possible to give yourself a chance to gather it all together.