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DBS Certificates are Changing Appearance

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If you’ve applied for a DBS check recently, then don’t be surprised if your certificate looks a little different to the certificates which have been issued in the past. The Disclosure and Barring Service has recently announced a change in the way certificates are printed, and although the changes are minor, it’s something which both applicants and employers should be aware of.


What’s Changing?

The changes to the appearance of DBS certificates is down to the way in which they are printed. An upgrade to the printers used to produce the certificates means that the certificates will be better quality and made with more sustainable materials. The implications of this however is that although the print on the certificate will still be purple, as will the lines printed into the certificate, the shade will be lighter. In all other aspects, the appearance of the certificate will remain unchanged.


Potential Issues

The changes in the printing of certificates are relatively minor and are not expected to cause any serious issues for applicants or their employers. However, there is the possibility that an employer might suspect a fraudulent certificate if they spot that one piece of paper is substantially lighter than others they have seen in the past. If employers are up to speed with all of the other security features embedded into the DBS certificates, this should set their minds at rest.


Security Features of a DBS Certificate

Fraud in the DBS process is rare. But the risks associated with someone forging a DBS certificate can be considerable. It is the responsibility of employers to make sure that the paperwork they are being given is genuine, and to flag up any potential problems or forgeries. Despite the changes of printing, there are some key characteristics of DBS checks which remain unchanged. These are:

  • Size – a DBS certificate is slightly larger than a standard A4 piece of paper. A genuine certificate will measure 209mm wide by 404mm long.
  • The ink used to print personal information is purple – not black or blue. Although the changes mean that a lighter shade is used, the ink is still purple in colour.
  • Crown Seal – there is s watermark down the right-hand side of the certificate paper. The watermark should be visible on the surface when the paper is lying flat, and when the certificate is held up to the light.
  • Background design – the paper used for disclosure certificates has a wave like pattern with the word “disclosure” in a regular pattern. The pattern is green on the front of the certificate, and purple on the back.


Problem with Security Features

If any of these security features don’t appear on a certificate, then it may be a forgery. If you suspect that you have been presented with a forged disclosure, keep hold of it and contact the DBS right away. There is a dedicated email address for problem paperwork or call them on their helpline and ask for advice. Any other correspondence from the DBS or a registered body should clearly state “this is not a certificate issued by the DBS”.