A criminal record check (CRB) – now commonly known as a DBS Check – enables employers to check employees’ criminal histories through the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

A background check, such as one carried out by a reputable company like uCheck, enables you to understand a potential candidate’s background.

For example, uCheck Online Background Checks include thorough screenings of an individual’s:

  • Education
  • Employment history
  • Identity
  • Credit history
  • Any applicable criminal record info

There are three UK Disclosure check levels. For relevant employees, there’s also an international disclosure check.

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

The three disclosure checks are:

  • Basic: a simple criminal record check that considers non-spent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA).
  • Standard: more detailed screenings, showing all criminal history except the disclosure filtering rule.
  • Enhanced: the most detailed check, containing all criminal history and additional information specific to vulnerable people.
  • Internationalchecks for employees that live overseas.

1. Basic Disclosure

A basic disclosure check is the simplest form of criminal record checks and gives you information about non-spent convictions under an ROA. A basic DBS enables applicants to view their certificates online and track the progress of their checks.

Basic disclosure checks are available to employers and individuals. They aren’t job-specific and cover all responsibilities of a job role. All basic checks must be completed with consent and are accessible to everyone for any reason. 

A basic DBS helps you understand any risks and ensures employers and employees aren’t put in hazardous situations or unsuitable environments. 

If the individual’s role requires more sensitive work and direct contact with vulnerable groups, adults, or children, a standard or enhanced disclosure check is a better option.

2. Standard DBS Checks

A standard disclosure check is required for people entering job roles deemed more sensitive, such as employees in the financial or legal sectors. Held on the Police National Computer, it records a full criminal history, warnings, reprimands, cautions, and sentences under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. However, there’s a disclosure filtering rule. An organisation is only able to apply for these types of disclosures.

3. Enhanced DBS Checks

An enhanced disclosure check is the most thorough check available and details an individual’s full criminal history, including:

  • Cautions
  • Warnings
  • Spent and unspent sentences
  • Reprimands
  • Children and adult barred list
  • Section 142 of the education act 
  • Other relevant information

An organisation that meets the criteria can submit an enhanced disclosure check. These types of checks are most commonly used to protect the most vulnerable groups where someone has regular unsupervised contact with vulnerable people. 

4. International Disclosures

Occasionally, a disclosure check may need to be carried out on employees who’ve been living overseas. However, the application and process may be slightly different to UK-based applicants.

The same eligibility criteria used for UK applicants should be used for international applications. Any applicant who’s spent a significant time outside of the UK, even if they’re a UK citizen, should have an international DBS. This is to ensure any convictions outside of the UK are detailed because they’re unlikely to be on the UK Police National Computer. 

Applicants living overseas for a considerable amount of time should obtain a disclosure check from the country they’ve been living in.

Obtaining a DBS check varies from country to country, but the disclosure barring service provides a list of countries from A-Z, specifying how to acquire a record check from every country and the guidelines for the country of application. 

If the applicant applying for an international disclosure check has also resided in the UK, they’ll need an additional DBS for the UK and any other country they’ve lived in.

Applications for UK applicants overseas are more difficult to obtain, as employers still need to see applicant identification documents in person. However, the DBS checking guide will allow you to verify ID documents by a live video link. But employers will need the physical documents to inspect them in person.  

Disclosure Checks

Disclosure and Barring Services like uCheck offer online DBS checks, right to work and identity and adverse credit checks. uCheck’s DBS checks are simple to use and provide quick results, with many checks performed instantly. You just need to sign up to uCheck’s platform and from there, you can order as many checks as you need. 

Requesting a check is simple and takes just a few minutes. We hope we’ve clarified the four types of DBS Checks available. If you’re an employer and are still unsure which type of DBS check your existing or future staff require, it’s best to seek the help of a professional DBS checking agency.