The DBS Takeover: Your FAQ's

You may have heard over the recent months that from September 2017 the Disclosure & Barring Service will take over Basic Disclosures for England and Wales, previously completed by Disclosure Scotland.

Since the announcement there has been a lot of questions asked regarding how the new system will work and how the changes will affect your current processes, here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions.

1. How would I submit applications to the DBS for Basic checks?

Applications for DBS checks can be submitted by Responsible Organisations such as Personnel Checks, via a web service.

2. What types of certificates are available for DBS Basic checks?

The DBS will produce electronic certificates which will be available to all applicants. Applicants can also request a paper certificate at the start of the application process as well, just ask a Personnel Checks Advisor.

3. How is my applicant’s identity verified?

When you apply for a basic check through Personnel Checks, we will ensure the applicants identity is verified in line with the DBS guidelines before submitting an application form.

4. Will the ID verification guidelines for Basics be the same as for Standard and Enhanced checks?

The guidelines will be similar and the DBS will be providing further detail on this in the coming months.

5. How will ‘profile matching’ work on the new system?

When completing an application form through Personnel Checks’ system, the applicant will have the option to fill in their profile ID. This means that once the check has been submitted to Personnel Checks and later arrives with the DBS they can “profile match” the application to the applicants profile to let them know that their online certificate is available to view etc.

6. Will applicants whose identity cannot be verified be sent for fingerprinting?

No, this process is only applicable when applying for Standard and Enhanced DBS applications. The applicant’s identity must be verified in line with the DBS guidelines for Basic checks.

7. Will I be able to submit basic applications prior to September 2017?

No, DBS can only accept Basic applications from this date and not before.

8. Can overseas applicants submit a basic application?

Yes, applications from overseas can be submitted to either the DBS or Disclosure Scotland.

9. Will I be notified when an application has been completed?

An indicative result will be issued for each completed application. More information will be released about who the results will be issued to in the coming months.  

10. What happens when there is a dispute or discrepancy with applicant’s data?

Applicants can raise a dispute online via their DBS account. Personnel Checks and other third parties (including Accountable Officers) can raise a dispute over the phone with DBS Customer Services who will then liaise with the applicant to resolve.

11. Is disputed information on an application usable?

No, if information is in dispute it should not be considered until this is resolved. If the dispute is resolved and the information is then removed from the certificate, it cannot be considered.

Information will only be removed if the information has been incorrectly associated with the certificate holder or if their convictions or cautions are spent.

12. How can I view my applicants DBS Basic certificates?

Applicants can provide consent for you to view their electronic certificate at the application stage or at any stage after that.

If the applicant requests a paper certificate, they can detail an alternative address to have their paper certificate sent to.

13. How long will I be able to view a Basic e-certificate for?

The applicant can determine the length of time the consent is provided to their DBS online account.

14. What are the DBS’ service level agreements (SLAs) for processing Basic checks

The DBS aims to complete 90% of their applications within 10 working days. Personnel Checks’ current average turnaround for basic disclosures (online and paper) is 6 days, however, we will update these statistics once the takeover comes into force.

15. When can applicants join the Update Service with their Basic check?

Applicants will only have the option of joining the Update Service when the application is completed.

16. Can a responsible organisation subscribe to the Update Service on the applicant’s behalf?

No, the applicant is the only person who can subscribe to the Update Service, however Personnel Checks can securely make payment on the applicant’s behalf.

17. Will the DBS reject Basic applications that are submitted with addresses in Scotland?

No, it will be Personnel Checks’ responsibility to ensure that applications processed through our system are submitted correctly and in line with the relevant legislations.

18. What happens if an applicant is working in England and Scotland?

If this is the case the application should be sent to the Disclosure Service where the recruitment decision is being made. This should be done with care as if the role is for example based in England with travel to Scotland, the English Rehabilitation of Offenders Act rules would apply.

19. What will happen if an applicant is living/working in both England and Scotland?

If an applicant is requesting a Basic check for their own use and not for employment purposes then the application should be sent to the Disclosure Service where they live.

If the applicant is requesting a Basic check for employment purposes, the location of the work will determine where the check will be applied. For example, if an applicant living in Scotland requires a Basic check for personal use the application should be processed via Disclosure Scotland, if they then apply for a job in England which requires a Basic check, the application should be sent to the DBS.

20. What is the ‘rule set’ that Disclosure Scotland use to decide which Rehabilitation of Offenders Act rules are used?

This information is available on the Disclosure Scotland website by clicking on the link below:


If you have any additional questions regarding the DBS takeover, please don’t hesitate to call and speak to one of our Advisors on 01254 355688.


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