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Top 10 FAQs

So you've been asked for a DBS, or you have a question about one? Here are the answers to some of the popular questions.


How do I make an application for a DBS check?

If you've been asked by your employer to apply, they will provide you with a paper application form for you to complete and hand back. To confirm your identity, you will also be asked to provide evidence of your name, address and date of birth, together with photographic identification.

If you are self-employed, give us a call. We will work with you direct to help you through the DBS process.

How do I get a DBS application form?

Your prospective employer will have one. If you are self-employed, we can send you one. This will be in paper format, as the DBS does not currently offer these forms electronically, or via downloaded from the web.

I am self-employed. Can I get a check to put my clients' minds at ease?

Although current guidelines do not allow you to apply for a DBS on yourself, our sister company may be able to apply for one on your behalf. Take a look at our section on DBSs for the self-employed for more details.

A clean enhanced DBS disclosure will open up a world of work in sensitive environments, such as schools, care homes and the like. It will set you apart from the pack in all aspects of your work, installing confidence in your suitability to work in such settings. And in a world where competition for contracts is fierce, putting any potential client's mind at ease right at the outset can be paramount.

We have worked with many people from plumbers and carpenters to tutors to nannies - who say that having an up-to-date enhanced DBS disclosure has been the critical difference between winning a job and not.

To open up a world of new job opportunities, see DBSs for the self-employed.

How long is a DBS disclosure valid for?

There is no pre-determined period of validity, because a conviction or other matter could be recorded against the subject of the DBS check at any time after it is issued. If you are an employee, you may only have to complete one during the recruitment process. If your job involves working consistently with children and vulnerable adults, you may be asked for a disclosure annually or every few years. However, this is an organisational decision.

We always recommend that it is best practice to carry out an annual DBS check. It shows professional due diligence of behalf of the employer, and ensures that they have the most up-to-date information to ensure both their own, and their stakeholders' security.

For the self-employed too, an annual check puts the minds of potential customers and clients at ease. A disclosure from a few years ago may set you apart from those people who don't have one at all, but it may also beg the question: what has happened in the time since that you don't want us to see?

How do I find out if I am eligible to apply for a DBS check?

The Home Office holds a list of the types of work, employment or professions on which you can legally obtain a DBS check. You can see it here.

Can I track the progress of my DBS application?

As an umbrella body, we have no access to this. However, the DBS operates an online tracking service for you to check the progress of your own disclosure application. Click here for more information.

My DBS application seems to be taking ages. Why is that?

The vast majority of standard disclosures take around 10 days to complete. This jumps to four weeks for an enhanced disclosure. However, times can drastically vary depending on a number of factors, including: the accuracy of the information you have provided; how often you've moved; any clarification of data; and the operational effectiveness of the police, who play such a major role in the enhanced disclosure process.

My personal details have changed since my last DBS. What do I do?

If you are employed in the same job, then nothing! The next time you need to apply for a DBS disclosure, just provide the new details. If you are self-employed and the details are important enough (such as a name change!) then it is probably a good idea to get another completed. Give us a call, tell us what has changed, and we will advise you of the best course of action.

Can I have any convictions on the Police National Computer (PNC) removed?

No. In 2009, the Court of Appeal supported the retention of criminal convictions on the PNC for policing purposes. In effect, this means that all convictions will be retained until you reach 100 years old.

I have lost my DBS certificate, can I get a reprint?

Unfortunately not. You will need to submit a new application form.