What are the five DBS check stages?

The Disclosure and Barring Service ( previously known as a CRB check) offers organisations a way of vetting potential staff and ensuring they do not employ anyone with a past that would make them unsuitable for a specific position. This is especially important for any organisation which works with children or vulnerable adults.


But how exactly does a DBS check work?

There are five stages for a basic DBS check. Once you’ve gathered basic information on the person to be checked, and verified their ID, the process can begin.

Stage 1

The application is validated by the DBS. Other checks can now begin.

Stage 2

The applicant will be checked on the Police National Computer, which will flag up any spent or unspent convictions reprimands, cautions or final warnings. Whilst usually, these do not have to be declared, they do for many jobs that require a DBS.

Stage 3

The applicant is checked against the children’s and/or adults’ barred list to see if they have ever been banned from taking roles working with children and/or vulnerable adults, dependant on the position applied for.

Stage 4

Local police records are also checked for any other relevant information that might not have been placed on the PNC.

Stage 5

Once the application is completed, the information is given to the organisation which requested it. A printed copy of the disclosure is also sent to the applicant’s home address.

It’s important to note that companies and individuals cannot request checks directly. For security reasons, only a limited number of registered companies can carry out DBS checks. For example, basic DBS checks can be arranged at Care Check.

Many companies want to know if a basic DBS check can be transferred between organisations. The answer to this is generally no. However, applicants or employers can register for the DBS update service. This costs £13 per year, but is free for volunteers.

This will allow them to transfer certificates between roles rather than reapplying, unless the type of certificate changes (e.g. from working with adults to working with children) or if they need to move from a standard DBS check to an enhanced one. Employers can also pay for the service, which will allow them to log on to view DBS checks for applicants who have signed up to the programme.