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An employer or organisation has various options available to them in order to request a DBS check.  They can register directly with the DBS and deal with applications themselves.

This will incur an initial cost, based in 2013 of £300, plus an additional £5 for everyone else in the organisation who will be dealing with DBS checks. These people are also referred to as counter-signatories within the organisation.  There is also a service called the DBS e-Bulk service which can reduce costs and waiting times for DBS checks. This allows for multiple requests to be submitted and the results are also received electronically.

If an employer or organisation does not want to deal with DBS applications themselves then they can use an umbrella body to do this on their behalf. An umbrella body is a company that can do DBS checks on behalf of a business or organisation. There are many of these organisations in existence and they can be found on the internet.

If the DBS check is required for a care service for adults, then the organisation can use a service called DBS Adult First.  They will confirm within 2 days if the applicant can commence work under supervision or whether the results from an enhanced check should be obtained prior to commencing their employment.  Employers and organisations in Scotland can request a DBS check from Disclosure Scotland whilst for those in Northern Ireland requests should be made through Access NI.

The basic steps for a DBS check are:

  • Obtain the application form from the DBS or umbrella body 
  • The applicant, that is the person for whom the check is being requested, completes the form and this should be sent back either directly to the DBS or to the umbrella organisation 
  • Once the check has been completed the DBS will send a certificate listing the results to both the applicant and the organisation.

There are a number of documents that the applicant must provide to their employer with their completed application form to prove their identity, details of acceptable documents can be found on the DBS website, these include but are not limited to, any current and Valid Passport or a biometric residence permit, a current full or provisional photo driving licence or birth certificate issued in the UK, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.

At any stage, the applicant can check on the progress of the DBS application by using the tracking service. Genuine DBS certificates have a crown seal watermark, a background featuring the word ‘disclosure’ and ink which is printed on paper that changes colour when wet. However, these security measures only appear on certificates printed by the DBS and not to those that are sent via email. Lost or destroyed certificates will not be replaced. Under these circumstances, in order to replace a lost certificate, a new check will be required.

If a DBS certificate is received and there is incorrect personal information contained in it, the applicant can appeal to have that information changed. If wrong or irrelevant information on convictions has been supplied an appeal can also be made. It may be possible to have a barring decision changed if an appeal is successful.  A mistake should be reported within 3 months of the issue of the DBS certificate and a certificate dispute form will also be required.

If there is a criminal record mistake on an enhanced certificate and the police do not agree, the Independent Monitor will review the appeal. If the Independent Monitor agrees with the applicant the DBS check will be corrected.   If a decision has been made to put a person on the barred list, this can also be appealed against, by appealing to a tribunal to reverse the decision.