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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 2:59 pm

Frequently Asked Questions About DBS Checks

There is a lot of confusion about DBS checks, and while you could spend your entire day searching through endless pages without really finding the answers you want, it’s much easier to collect the most common question in one place. If you’re applying for a DBS check soon or need to know more about the process, we’ve got you covered, so here are 15 frequently asked questions about DBS checks.

1. What is a DBS check?

DBS checks are a service that analyses your criminal history. Businesses and organisations use them for volunteers, part time, and full-time employees to get a clear picture of any previous offenses. They detail information regarding spent and unspent convictions over a period (a maximum of 11 years), depending on the offense. However, there are certain offenses, such as terrorism or crimes against children, that are not cleared.

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2. Is a DBS check legally required?

DBS are legally required if you are working in a regulated activity, such as working with children or vulnerable adults, and other professions will require it, too. Basic DBS checks are not a legal requirement, however, it is in the organisation or company’s best interest to carry out DBS checks on all candidates to prevent any safeguarding issues.

3. How often do I need to renew my DBS check?

DBS checks do not expire, so you are not legally required to renew a DBS check. However, you may want to carry out a DBS check whenever changing jobs, as you will want to provide your new employer with the most up-to-date information. Some companies will renew DBS checks every 2 to 5 years, but you can sign up for an Update Service to take a lot of the hassle out of the process.

4. How do you renew a DBS check?

You can renew a DBS check by asking your employer to apply again on your behalf with Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. You can also apply for a Basic DBS check yourself if requested. A DBS Update Service can do this for you for a registration fee, and this makes your DBS check portable.

5. How do I know if I’ve passed a DBS check?

You do not pass or fail a DBS check. The decision whether or not an employer hires you or not is at their discretion depending on the information displayed on the DBS check. Different levels of DBS check provide different information, and the type of role you will perform will determine whether the employer hires you.

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6. Do I need a DBS check if I’m self-employed?

Someone who is self-employed working alone and with no other employees does not need a DBS check. They can apply for a Basic DBS check themselves if they wish, as this is the only level available to them. If they work around a school or hospital (or anywhere with regulated activity), the organisation may request a Standard or Enhanced DBS check and apply for it on their behalf.

7. Do I need a DBS check?

Most companies will require a DBS check as a safeguarding measure to protect their business, employees and customers. You will also need one if you work with children, vulnerable people, and the elderly. It may be in your best interest to apply for a Basic DBS check when job searching, as you can present it to your potential employer and speed up the recruitment process.

8. How do I apply for a DBS check?

You can apply for a DBS check either online or via post. Online DBS check applications are easier, as there is less chance of making a mistake or filling the form out incorrectly. As making mistakes on your DBS check could be costly, it’s vital that you take as much care as you can when filling out the DBS check application form.

9. How much is a DBS check?

Prices for DBS checks vary depending on the level.

You may be required to pay for this yourself, but some companies will pay the fee for you.

If you are working as a volunteer and can prove you are not getting any tangible monetary benefit or working for a close relative, you can get a DBS check for free, with the hiring company paying a small processing fee on your behalf.

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10. How long does a DBS check take?

A DBS check is usually completed within two weeks of submitting the application form, although some checks can take longer, while it will return others sooner. When waiting for your DBS check, it’s best to wait at least 4 weeks before following up with the service.

11. Why is my DBS check taking so long?

There are many reasons why your DBS check could take a long time. It might be that there have been a lot of applications in your area, which is delaying the process. It could also have been lost in the mail. Another issue could be mistakes you have made on the application or information that is not clear and needs further confirmation.

12. What do I need for a DBS check?


  • One form of ID
  • Proof of address


  • Form of ID
  • 2 additional official documents, one showing proof of address

13. What is the difference between a DBS check and CRB?

Basically, nothing. The DBS check is what took over the CRB when it merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority and became the DBS service we know today.

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14. What levels of DBS check are available?

There are three levels of DBS check available. These are:

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Enhanced

Standard and Enhanced DBS checks are needed when the applicant is working in a regulated environment.

15. Can I do it myself?

You can apply for a Basic DBS check yourself. However, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks must be carried out by the hiring company or organisation as they include questions that you cannot answer by yourself.

Summing Up

Hopefully, this clears up everything you could ever need to know about DBS checks and the process surrounding them. However, if you need more information, make sure to browse The Check People Blog to answer any additional questions you might have.