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The Protocol Group

Our FAQs

Access detailed information on a range of common questions surrounding DBS checks from our experts at eSafeguarding.  

What is a DBS check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a way for employers to check the criminal record of a candidate applying for a role. The four different types of DBS checks are: 


What does a DBS check show?

This will depend on the level of check that’s been requested. A basic DBS check will only show details of unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. 


Standard and enhanced DBS checks will include details of both spent and unspent convictions, with enhanced DBS checks showing extra information that’s held on local police records. 

How long is a DBS check valid for?

DBS checks do not have an official expiry date. However, some employers may require a renewal after a certain period of time. 

Can I request a DBS check for my staff member or volunteer?

Before you consider asking a person to apply for a DBS check, you are legally responsible for making sure the job role is eligible for one.

View the DBS’s guidance on eligibility  

The DBS has also created an online eligibility tool to identify roles or activities that could be eligible for a standard or enhanced DBS check. The eligibility tool is not intended to act as legal advice and doesn’t cover every role, so you are encouraged to read the guidance details on the above link in addition to using this tool. 




ID checking guidelines for DBS check applications  

Before you are able to request a DBS certificate, you must verify your applicant’s identity by checking a number of original documents.  


View the DBS’s guidance on document checking  

What is the DBS definition of a volunteer?

The DBS’s definition of a volunteer is defined in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 as:  

“Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative.”  


The applicant must not:  


  • Benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted  
  • Receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)  
  • Be on a work placement  
  • Be on a course that requires them to do this job role  
  • Be in a trainee position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification  

Which workforce do I select for my applicant?

When requesting a DBS check, you are required to enter which workforce your applicant will be working in. The DBS has created some workforce guidance documents to help you with this.


View the three workforce options  

Can I request a Barred List check for my applicant?

Jobs that involve carrying out certain activities for children and adults (known as regulated activity) may require an enhanced DBS check with a check of the barred lists.  


View the DBS’s child regulated activity definition  


View the DBS’s adult regulated activity definition 

Compliance with the DBS Code of Practice

All organisations requesting DBS checks must adhere to the DBS Code of Practice.  


View the code of practice  

DBS Secure storage, handling, use, retention and disposal of Disclosure and Barring Service certificate information

All organisations requesting DBS checks must have a written policy on the correct handling and safekeeping of DBS certificate information.  

The DBS has produced a sample policy which organisations can adapt to meet this requirement. 


View the sample policy  

Policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders

The DBS requires all employers who request DBS checks to have a written policy on the employment of ex-offenders which they give to their applicants.  


The DBS has produced a sample policy which organisations can adapt to meet this requirement. 


View the sample policy 

Do You Have Any Other Questions? ​

Our team of experts is on hand to answer any questions you may have, whether about the DBS checking process itself or the eSafeguarding platform.

Fill in our contact form, call us, or email us using the details below and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible to arrange the next steps.

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