DBS checking process

DBS checks must be applied for through a registered DBS umbrella body. DBS checks must be requested by the organisation in which the role will be carried out. Individuals and the self-employed cannot apply for a check on themselves.

The DBS checking process involves the completion of a DBS application form and several forms of identification must be evidenced.

DBS checks are free of charge for volunteers, but the check will be subject to an administration fee by the umbrella body to cover the cost of processing the check. DBS checks for paid employees are also subject to a charge from the DBS in addition to the admin fee. For more information about charges please visit our pricing page.

When the DBS check is complete, a DBS certificate is issued to the applicant detailing the results of the check. The organisation will want to see this certificate. Whatever the results, they will decide whether they can still employ you or take you on as a volunteer. Having a criminal record does not necessarily bar you from working or volunteering with an organisation.

DBS Update Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service have recently launched the Update Service to enable DBS certificates to be kept up-to-date and transferable from role-to-role, within the same workforce (this includes volunteers), where the same type and level of check is required.

The update service is now available for all DBS checks, and individuals can join the update service by registering online once they have received their disclosure certificate.Organisations do not need to join the service, as they can access the service online for free to carry out a status check on an individuals DBS certificate.

The update service costs £13 per annum for paid staff and is free if joining with a DBS certificate for a voluntary position.

Learn more about the update service on the Disclosure and Barring Service website.

Does my voluntary/paid position require a check?

Before an organisation approaches an individual for a DBS check, they are legally responsible for ensuring that they are entitled to ask that person to reveal their conviction history – whether they have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings.Organisations must therefore carry out an assessment to identify if the role should be subject to a DBS check. This assessment should make sure that the role meets the requirements for a standard or enhanced DBS check and if the role is defined as regulated activity.

Guidance on how to identify if a DBS check is required can be found on the DBS website or by contacting your local VCS office and asking for a DBS advisor. You can now check whether a role is eligible for a DBS check using the interactive eligibility tool on the DBS website.

Guidance on DBS checks for volunteers can also be found on the NCVO website.

Where can I get a DBS check?

Contact your local Volunteer Centre for details of the DBS checking process in your area.

DBS checks and advice