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The Ultimate DBS Check Guide


1. What is a DBS Check?
2. How long does a DBS Check take?
3. What does a DBS Check show?
4. What does an Enhanced DBS Check show?
5. How long does a DBS Check last?
6. What ID documents do I need for a DBS Check?
7. How much is a DBS Check?
8. Who needs a DBS Check?
9. How to get a DBS Check?
10. Who pays for a DBS Check?

We've created an Ultimate Guide to help you with any questions you may have about DBS Checks, from how long they take to complete, to how much they cost. We're here to provide you with all the necessary information so you can complete your DBS Check as soon as possible!


What is a DBS Check?

A DBS check provides information on an individual’s criminal record history. The check is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Home Office.

DBS Checks allow organisations to make safer recruitment decisions on employees or potential employees based on the information that is presented on a DBS Certificate which is printed once the check is complete.



How long does a DBS Check take?

We can’t guarantee how long each check will take, this could vary from hours, days, weeks or months, however our average turnaround times are;

  • 1 day for Basic Checks
  • 2 days for Standard Checks
  • 15 days for Enhanced Checks

This is from the moment your application is sent to the DBS to the certificate being completed.

We countersign all of the applications we receive on the same day (if recieved before 4pm) to ensure we’re doing everything we can to speed up the DBS checking process for you. However, once the check is in the hands of the DBS, we have no control of the timescales and therefore we’re unable to ever guarantee exact timings on how long your DBS Check may take.



What does a DBS Check show?

There are three different levels of DBS Checks; Basic, Standard and Enhanced.

Each check searches different aspects of an individual’s criminal record and therefore reveals different criminal history.

The most basic level of check will show unspent convictions and conditional cautions, however, Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks can include warnings, reprimands, spent convictions and barred lists.

You can see more on what is shown specifically on each level of DBS Check here.



What does an Enhanced DBS Check show?

An Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of DBS Check, therefore this level of check reveals the most from a criminal record.

An Enhanced DBS Check will check an applicant’s criminal history for cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions (both spent and unspent).

This type of DBS Check may also search the DBS’s Children’s and/or Adult barred list depending on the applicant’s job role. Local police forces are also able to add any relevant information they hold on the applicant.

You can see more on what is shown specifically on each level of DBS Check here.



How long does a DBS Check last?

In theory, there is no specific expiry date on a DBS Check. Once a DBS Check has been processed, the information included on that check is accurate to the date that the check was completed, therefore any criminal activity performed after that date would not be recorded on the check. For this reason, many employers renew DBS Checks regularly from every six months to 3 years.

Additionally, the DBS offer the Update Service for applicants completing Standard and Enhanced Checks. Applicants have the opportunity to sign up to the DBS Update Service, allowing them to keep their DBS Certificates up to date and employers to check their DBS Certificate (with their permission).

Applicants must sign up to the Update Service themselves through the DBS directly. As an Umbrella Body of the DBS, we are unable to process this for you. 

To find out more about the update service here



What ID documents do I need for a DBS Check?

Part of the DBS application process requires the applicant to have their ID Documents verified. The ID documents needed for a DBS check depends on the level of DBS check being completed, however the process is very similar for all:

ID Documents required for a Basic DBS Check
Applicants will need to provide two documents from this list of valid ID

ID Documents required for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check
Applicants will need to provide three documents from this list of valid ID

In some cases, we ask employers to verify the ID documents on behalf of the applicant. We have an ID checking guideline here to help you through the ID verification process.



How much is a DBS Check?

The prices Personnel Checks charge for a DBS check vary based upon the level of check:

Basic DBS Check: £43.99
Standard DBS Check: £52.99
Enhanced DBS Check: £64.99
Volunteer DBS Check: £18.50

We offer discounts on DBS checks bought in larger volumes. If you think you might be interested in buying multiple checks, please speak to one of our advisors who will be able to give you information on discounts on 01254 355688.



Who needs a DBS check?

Employers request DBS Checks in order to help them make more informed recruitment decisions based on the results. It is not a legal requirement to have a DBS check, however, many employers and organisations require DBS checks as a condition of employment for some job roles. 

For example, employees in the financial sector carrying out controlled functions may need a Standard DBS Check in order to ensure that the individual satisfies the requirements of their job role.

On the other hand, recruitment for a role that regularly exposes you to vulnerable adults (i.e. a carer in a nursing home) would require an Enhanced DBS Check with the purpose of guaranteeing that there isn’t any past criminal acts that may pose a threat to the vulnerable group.

Additionally, a self-employed individual may want a Basic DBS check with the intention of standing out from the crowd as more trustworthy than competitors without a DBS check (i.e. you might be more likely to choose a dog walker with a DBS check to walk your dog opposed to one who doesn’t).

Overall, sometimes a DBS Check is necessary and requested by the employer at a Basic, Standard or Enhanced level, however, a Basic DBS Check is available to any individual who would like one.



How to get a DBS Check?

DBS Checks are available to be purchased through our website, however, you will need to firstly ensure that you are applying for the correct level of check (see our DBS eligibility guide here).

If you have any questions on how to get a DBS check please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 01254 355688.



Who pays for a DBS Check?

The payment for a DBS Check can be made by either an employer or the applicant themselves. If an employer is processing the DBS Check on your behalf, it is likely they will cover the cost for you, however this is something you should discuss with your employer first.