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DBS – Required Documents

Apply for a DBS Check

Starting a new job means lots of filling in forms with things like bank details so you can get paid, and your P45 from your last job to ensure that your tax is in order. If your new position needs a police criminal records check too, then there’s a bit more paperwork which you have to complete before you can get your certificate in the post. These police checks have a range of names. In England and Wales the system is run by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) but you’ll still hear people talking about making a CRB application as this is the name for the previous system. In Scotland, it’s the PVG scheme, run by Disclosure Scotland. Northern Ireland uses a scheme administered by AccessNI. Don’t get too hung up on the names and the organisations as it’s the job of your employer to make sure you approach the right body depending on your address. Your responsibility is to make sure you have the right documents to verify your identity, and in the correct format.


Primary Identity Documents

The various documents which you might want to give to support your DBS check application are split into three groups, the first of which is Primary Identity Documents. There is a full list of the documents which fall into the various categories online. Although you can apply for a DBS check without any documents in the first group, it’s a bit more complicated. The key documents which you will be asked to show are:

  • Passport – not just a UK passport, but any current passport from any country around the world.
  • UK biometric residence permit.
  • A full driving licence from the UK, Isle of Man or Channel Islands.
  • A birth certificate.
  • Adoption certificate.

If you have your passport, a birth certificate, and your driving licence, then that’s all you need to prove your identity and get your DBS certificate.


Trusted Government Documents

If you don’t have three documents in the first group, then you might have to look at the second group of documents. These are also identity documents but are seen as less reliable or trusted as the documents in the first group. These documents include:

  • Provisional driving licence.
  • Old paper-style driving licence.
  • Birth certificate which was issued after birth.
  • Forces ID card.
  • Firearms licence.

Sometimes the best way for a young person who doesn’t have lots of documents in their own name to get the right documents for identity checking is to apply for a provisional driving licence, even if they have no intention of taking lessons.


Financial and Social History Documents

This is a much longer list of documents, which gives a high degree of flexibility over the proof you offer to support your application. The DBS are looking for trusted documents which clearly state your name and address, such as bank statements, utility bills, statements from credit card companies, correspondence from a government agency about tax or Child Benefit, or Council Tax statement.

There are few rules around these documents, and as more of us go online to manage our finances, this is something to bear in mind when collecting your evidence.

  • Recent – the DBS wants to see documents which are classed as “recent”, which to them means mostly dated within the last three months. If you are submitting a document which is only issued annually, such as a Council Tax bill or your P60, it should be the most recent one you have received.
  • Original – documents also have to be originals, printed and sent to you from the bank. This might be an issue if you’ve opted to go paperless with statements and billing as printouts aren’t good enough. Most banks and utility companies will send out a paper statement if you ask them to, but this obviously could cause more delay.
  • UK Bank – if you want to use statements or bills from any financial institution, the bank must be UK based, or located in the Channel Islands.
  • Your Name – all documentation submitted must be in your own name, not a utility bill or statement in the name of a spouse, parent or relative, even if the surnames match.


Options for People Without a Financial and Social History

People who have not been resident in the UK for long, or who are young and still living at home with their parents often find it difficult to gather together the right combination of documents to prove their identity. There are ways around this, however. The DBS helpline can give advice on what combination of documents can be used given your specific circumstances. Young people who are at college, or who have just left school can in addition to standard documents use a letter from their college principal or head teacher to support their identity.