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10 Key Rules About DBS Checks

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Rules are there to be broken, right? Well perhaps in some cases. But certainly not when you are applying for your disclosure certificate. The Disclosure and Barring Service has plenty of rules in place and if you ignore them, your application will be rejected. Don’t worry though, we’ve put together a basic checklist of the most commonly broken rules, and our top tips for keeping in the right side of the line.

  1. All relevant fields – don’t even think about submitting your form with blanks in the boxes which are compulsory. If you’re filling your form online, the system won’t let you submit if there are gaps on the form. Take extra care if you are using a paper form.
  2. Blanks – if one of the non-compulsory fields on the form doesn’t apply to you, then leave it blank. Don’t write “blank” or “not applicable” or similar. This will just confuse matters and can hold up the processing of your form.
  3. Address history – the DBS asks for a full five years’ address history. This is non-negotiable. Provide all your addresses for the previous five years, including postcodes and overseas addresses if relevant. A recent change in the rules means your application will be rejected outright without this information, and you will have to pay the fee for processing again.
  4. Documents – part of the process is showing a range of key identity documents which prove who you are and where you live. There is a wide range of accepted documents, but don’t assume you can use other ID not on the list.
  5. Current – while we’re on the subject of documents, remember that you need recent, original documents. That means a passport which hasn’t expired, and paperwork like bank statements or utility bills should be dated within the last three months. Always present originals as photocopies or something you’ve printed from an online account won’t be valid.
  6. Continuation sheet – if you’ve moved several times over the last five years or have changed your name many times, there might not be enough space on the form. If that’s the case, don’t try to squeeze the information into the boxes or margins. Print off the proper DBS continuation sheet and use that instead.
  7. Block capitals – Not so much an issue with online applications, but if you’re filling in a paper form, always print neatly in block capitals. Use one box for each letter. If your handwriting is untidy or you struggle with forms, ask someone to help you or try to get access to the online form instead.
  8. Black ink – Similarly, the DBS only accepts application forms completed in black ink. This is because forms are often scanned or photocopied, and black ink shows up better. Don’t risk your form being rejected for something as simple as using black ink.
  9. Be honest – don’t lie on your form, you’ll be found out and your application could be delayed substantially.
  10. Sign the form – you’d be surprised by the number of people who forget to sign their form, keeping the signature inside the box provided, of course.