When the Disclosure and Barring Service was set up, the idea was to provide a criminal record checking service for people who worked in positions of responsibility, or who had access to people designated as “vulnerable”. Similar bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland were set up to do the same thing. Over the years the system has changed, and the most important change in recent times has been the ability for an individual to request a criminal record check on themselves. There are however some limits to this system.
It seems obvious, but the first important thing to note is that you can only ask for a disclosure check on yourself. There is still an identity checking process to go through which involves verifying who you are through one of the government’s approved portals. This is to stop people trying to apply for disclosure checks to “check up” on a relative, friend, colleague or employee without their knowledge. The DBS take fraud pretty seriously, so if you don’t want your own certificate to show a conviction for dishonesty, don’t risk it.
Basic Checks Only
The other restriction is that individuals can only apply for a basic level disclosure check. A basic DBS certificate will list only your unspent convictions or cautions. The length of time which it takes for a conviction to be spent will depend on both the type of offence, and how old you were when it happened. If you’re unsure about whether your convictions are spent or unspent, you can check online.
Individuals can’t apply for the other two types of disclosure checks, which are standard and enhanced. These are the more detailed levels of check, which may show older spent convictions and cautions, depending on the type of job you are applying for. You can only request standard or enhanced disclosure checks if you are registered to do so. Also, the job under consideration has to come under the definition of regulated activity. So in brief, the only way of getting a standard or enhanced DBS check as an individual is to apply for a job or voluntary position which requires one.
The application process for getting a basic DBS check is slightly different from other checks too, given that there is no third party employer to get involved. You can apply for your DBS check online, through the official government portal. If you’ve already registered to do your income tax online, or to manage benefits or use other government services, you should be able to use the same log-in details. If not, you will first have to register to use Government Gateway services. This is quite a cumbersome process and might involve a wait as the government sometimes post log-in details through the post. You will also have to verify your identity through your chosen method online. There is a selection of third party providers to choose from, all of which will take details of passport, driving licence, electoral role and use them to confirm who you are. Then, submit your application and wait for the certificate to arrive in the post.