Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – Basic Checks

DBS checks are criminal record searches that are carried out on an individual. They are most commonly used to vet people before appointing them in a job role or position of responsibility. 

It is becoming more and more common for employers to request that applicants apply for a DBS check for a variety of roles, not just those that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. 

For instance, supermarket assistants may be asked to apply for a DBS check as they will be handling cash, so the employer may want to check that they are trustworthy when it comes to money. Other employers may want to check that the person they appoint to a role is not likely to cause harm to other staff or members of the public.

There are three levels of DBS check available – basic, standard, and enhanced. Enhanced checks are most commonly used for roles that involve regulated activities, i.e. working directly with children or vulnerable adults. Standard DBS checks can be used for roles that involve some minimal contact with vulnerable groups, but also for roles that involve higher levels of financial or moral responsibility.

In this brief guide, we’ll look at when Basic DBS Checks are applied, what they reveal about a person’s criminal record, and how to go about obtaining one.

What Shows Up On A Basic DBS Check?

The basic DBS check is the top level criminal background check. The DBS will search through a person’s criminal record and reveal the following:

  • Unspent convictions 
  • Conditional cautions

As the Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of criminal record check, it doesn’t reveal spent convictions or warnings and reprimands.

An unspent conviction refers to an offence committed by the applicant that have been found guilty of (or admitted their own guilt), but have, as yet, not served the sentence or settled the required court fines.

Who Can Apply For A Basic DBS Check?

Anybody can request a Basic DBS Check to be carried out on themselves. This is different to standard or enhanced DBS checks which must be submitted by an employer or registered body.

All you need to do is fill in a paper application form or apply through an online portal. 

What Kind Of Jobs Ask For A Basic DBS Check?

Pretty much any kind of employer can ask for a Basic DBS Check for any kind of role. This may include jobs such as:

  • Shop assistants
  • Delivery drivers 
  • Warehouse worker 
  • Factory worker 
  • Cleaner

Voluntary organisations and charities may also request that their employees apply for a Basic DBS Check to make sure that they are employing people that are well suited to the role.

Do Basic DBS Checks Expire?

There is no expiry date for any type of DBS check. As soon as the DBS certificate is issued, it only covers criminal records up to that date. Therefore, any convictions after that date will not show up. It is recommended that employers ask employees to refresh and update their DBS certificates at least every two to three years.

How To Apply For A Basic DBS Check

Any individual can apply for a Basic DBS Check online or by post.

To apply, you simply fill in a form listing your personal details. You also need to provide identification documents. For a Basic DBS Check you only need to provide two documents:

  • A primary form of ID – passport or driving licence. 

Proof of address – a recent utility bill, bank statement, credit card statement, or driving licence (if not used as the primary ID source). 

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