Important: On 1 December 2012, the CRB and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to form a new organisation – the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Types of DBS Checks

There are three main types of DBS Checks:

Basic check

The basic check can be used for any position or purpose. A basic certificate will contain details of convictions and cautions from the Police National Computer (PNC) that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

Standard check

The standard check is available for duties, positions and licences included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, for example, court officers, employment within a prison, and Security Industry Authority (SIA) licences.

A standard level certificate contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC) which have not been filtered in line with legislation.

Enhanced check

The enhanced check is available for specific duties, positions and licences included in both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975) and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations, for example, regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of children, specified activities with adults in receipt of health care or social care services and applicants for gaming and lottery licences.

An enhanced level certificate contains the same PNC information as the standard level certificate but also includes a check of information held by police forces.

Enhanced with a barred list check

The enhanced check with barred list check(s) is only available for those individuals who are carrying out regulated activity and a small number of positions listed in Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations, for example, prospective adoptive parents and taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) licences.

An enhanced level certificate with barred list check(s) contains the same PNC information and check of information held by police forces as an enhanced level check but in addition will check against the children’s and/or adult’s barred lists.

If your application includes a request to check the barred list(s) the DBS has a statutory duty to consider any information that suggests you may pose a risk of harm. We will write to you if you are affected.

DBS adult first check

DBS adult first is a service available to organisations who can request a check of the DBS adults’ barred list. Depending on the result, a person can be permitted to start work, under supervision, with vulnerable adults before a DBS certificate has been obtained.

More guidance regarding adult first checks can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service website.

The requests carry strict criteria:

  • the position must require a criminal record check by law
  • the position must be eligible for access to the DBS adults’ barred list
  • the organisation must have requested a check of the DBS adults’ barred list on the DBS application form

The DBS’ reply to an adult first check request will contain one of the following responses and will clearly state that it only forms the first part of the criminal record check application process and that further information will follow:

  • option 1: ‘Registered Body must wait for the DBS certificate’
  • option 2: ‘no match exists for this person on the current adults’ barred list’

If the adult first check indicates that the Registered Body must wait for the DBS certificate, the details provided may have indicated a match on the DBS adults’ barred list. However, further investigation is required to confirm this and you should await the certificate. Alternatively, the check will state that no match exists for the individual on the adults’ barred list.

Where can I get a DBS check?

Voluntary Centre Services operates a DBS evidence checking service for any person who is either employed or volunteering for a company in either the public, private or civil sector through our partner organisation – Lincolnshire CVS (a Registered Body for DBS checks).

If you are self employed, or wishing to check your own background, then you can request a Basic Check from or from a Responsible Organisation.

Unfortunately VCS is not able to facilitate Basic Checks.

DBS checking process

The DBS checking process involves the completion of a DBS application form and several forms of identification must be evidenced.

Individuals and the self-employed can request a Basic Check. These can only be requested directly from DBS, by the individual themselves.

Standard and Enhanced DBS checks must be applied for through a registered DBS umbrella body. Both Standard and Enhanced DBS checks must be requested by the organisation in which the role will be carried out.

Standard and Enhanced DBS checks are free of charge for volunteers, but every check will be subject to an administration fee by the umbrella body to cover the cost of processing the check. DBS checks for paid employees are also subject to a charge from the DBS, in addition to the administration fee.

For more information about charges please visit our pricing section below.

When the DBS check is complete, a DBS certificate is issued to the applicant detailing the results of the check. The organisation will want to see this certificate as part of their recruitment process. Whatever the results, they will decide whether they can still employ you or take you on as a volunteer. Having a criminal record does not necessarily bar you from working or volunteering with an organisation.

Does my voluntary/paid position require a check?

Before an organisation approaches an individual for a DBS check, they are legally responsible for ensuring that they are entitled to ask that person to reveal their conviction history – whether they have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings.

Organisations must therefore carry out an assessment to identify if the role should be subject to a DBS check. This assessment should make sure that the role meets the requirements for a standard or enhanced DBS check and if the role is defined as regulated activity.

Guidance on how to identify if a DBS check is required can be found on the DBS website or by contacting your local VCS office.

You can now check whether a role is eligible for a DBS check using the interactive eligibility tool on the DBS website.

Further guidance on DBS checks for volunteers can also be found on the NCVO website.

DBS Checking Fees

DBS Check Standard Fees

• Basic DBS check £18 (for both volunteers and paid staff) – Only available at
• Standard DBS check £18 (free for volunteers)
• Enhanced DBS check £38 (free for volunteers)

VCS Administration Fees

The following administration fees apply for our DBS Service at Voluntary Centre Services (other fees may apply in different registered bodies):
• Charity and non-profit organisations £17.50
• Profit making organisations £30.00

Total Costs for DBS Checks for Groups / Individuals (including Admin Fees)

Please note, if you are a volunteer, it’s free of charge for Standard or Enhanced checks. The table above reflects our administration fee within the total cost for the check. Some organisations may pay the fees for you.

If you are employed, then you will be required to pay the checking fee plus the administration fee, and payment will be due on submission of your application. If your employer is paying for the check then an invoice will be sent to them at the end of each calendar month, where there is an approved account.

In certain circumstances there may be an additional £5 fee incurred from DBS checks. Your Evidence Checker will discuss this with you at the time of checking.

Please note there are no VAT charges applicable to DBS applications.

If you have any further questions please contact your local VCS office.

DBS Update Service

The Disclosure and Barring Service launched the Update Service to enable DBS certificates to be kept up-to-date and transferable from role-to-role, within the same workforce (this includes volunteers), where the same type and level of check is required.

The update service is available for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks, and individuals can join the update service by registering online within 28 days of DBS receiving their disclosure application.. Organisations do not need to join the service, as they can access the service online for free to carry out a status check on an individual’s DBS certificate.

The update service costs £13 per annum for paid staff and is free if joining with a DBS certificate for a voluntary position.

Learn more about the update service on the Disclosure and Barring Service website.