1st May 2018

A guide to DBS check levels for school leaders

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks are now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. 

You may need to check someone’s criminal record if they apply for certain jobs or voluntary work, e.g. working with children or vulnerable adults. There are four types or levels of DBS checks:

  • Basic
  • Standard DBS
  • Enhanced DBS
  • Enhanced DBS (including barred check list)

Here's a summary of the information searched for with each type of DBS check:

Information searched Type of DBS check
  Basic Standard DBS Enhanced DBS

Enhanced DBS (inc. barred check list)

Unspent convictions Yes Yes Yes Yes
Spent convictions Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cautions, warnings & reprimands* No Yes Yes Yes
Other relvant police info No No Yes Yes
Children's or Adult's barred lists No No No Yes


*Note: this does not include fixed penalty notices, penalty notices for disorder, or any other police or other out-of-court disposal.

Each level carries eligibility criteria as to the type of position that the check is available for. A comprehensive guide is available on the DBS website here. And a handy summary here

Pre-employment DBS Checks

As an employer, you should only arrange a DBS check on a successful job applicant, therefore this stage would form part of your onboarding process. You can withdraw a job offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable. To simplify the process, and avoid the necessity to securely store physical copies DBS certificates, it is preferable if you have a suitable way for successful applicants to provide this information to you electronically. For example, Civica HR software for schools includes e-Recruitment and Onboarding options that enables submission of this data via a secure online portal.

Recording DBS Check information

Once a recruitment decision has been made, you should not keep disclosure information for any longer than is absolutely necessary. This is generally for a period of up to six months to allow for the consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints.

Access to DBS Check information must be strictly controlled and limited to those who are entitled to see it as part of their role. If you retain hard copies then this should be in a lockable, non-portable storage container to which only those people have access. If the data is stored in your HR software then access to these screens, and associated reporting, should be restricted appropriately. It is acceptable to keep a record of:

  • The date of issue of a disclosure
  • The name of the subject
  • The type of disclosure requested
  • The position for which the disclosure was requested
  • The unique reference number of the disclosure
  • The details of the recruitment decision taken.

Disposing of DBS Data

You should ensure that the information is destroyed via secure means, i.e. by shredding, pulping or burning after 6 months. Information stored within Civica HR software can be set to be automatically ‘shredded’ at the end of this period.

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