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History and Process of CRB Checks

Apply for a DBS Check

Initially carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau, CRB checks are now carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which was formed in 2012.

The DBS is a merger of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to make it easier to collate convictions of individuals who could pose a threat to the sector they are applying to work in. These clearances are still known as CRB checks.

The checks not only protect young and vulnerable adults, but are widely accepted as vital safeguarding measures to help employers from a wide range of sectors to make the right recruitment decisions.

There are now three types of check – basic, stand and enhanced, each tailored to the specific roles and duties of the candidate is applying for.

This is how the checks are processed:

  • Once the application is received it is validated by an error and omission check. If all the data is correct the application is scanned onto the DBS system. In the case of an enhanced CRB check, if there are any discrepancies this information will be fast-tracked.
  • A Police National Computer (PNC) Search is conducted and specific information from the application form is compared against the PNC details. This is when it is decided as to whether the information is relevant to the job role. The stage reveals any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands. The amount of information disclosed will also depend on the type of check. A basic CRB check, for example, won’t disclose any spent convictions, whereas a standard or enhanced check will.
  • If a check is eligible for a children and adults’ barred list search, then this is when it will take place. Basic and standard checks will not reach this stage.
  • An enhanced DBS check is sent to the police for further records checks. Enhanced checks are sent by secure, electronic means to the police for an additional check of records before the information is sent back to the DBS.
  • The last stage of the process is when the DBS certificate is printed and all relevant information disclosed. If you don’t have any previous offences on record, then your CRB certificate will come back clear. all the information is revealed and posted to the application. Now you can provide it to your employer who has requested the criminal record check.


Track Your CRB check

You can view your certificate using your online Disclosure and Barring Service online account, which can be created through the government’s DBS website. After you have logged on you can select the “manage DBS checks” option and request a one-off password.

Employers and certain organisations can also track track the progress of basic DBS checks by the online account tracking service. They won’t need to create an account, but they will need the reference number, and the surname and date of birth of the person applying.

With this service you will be able to see what stage the application is at in the whole checking process or if an application has been returned due to errors. It will tell you whether the result of a criminal record check have been sent out to.


Turnaround times

Basic checks are considered less urgent than enhanced clearances, so they will take about 10 working days. Enhanced checks, without the barred list investigation, will, under normal circumstances, take five working days. In this climate of COVID-19 where frontline healthcare workers are in high demand the “barred list” part of the enhanced check is fast-tracked with a 24-hour turnaround. This is only a temporary measure to ensure that our health service isn’t compromised.