Basic Disclosures: What Do These Checks Involve?

If you’re looking to obtain a criminal record check, you may come across checks known as basic disclosures. But what exactly is the purpose of these checks? And how do they differ from higher levels of DBS check?

Basic disclosures

This blog will detail the main features of basic disclosures, what their purpose is, and how you can go about obtaining your own basic disclosure.

What will a basic disclosure detail?

A basic disclosure is a lower level of criminal record check. This means that there are no eligibility requirements to acquire this check. In other words, any individual over the age of 16 in the UK can apply for this check.

Basic disclosures will detail an applicant’s unspent convictions. These are commonly referred to as anything recent or serious. Legally, any employer in the UK can ask an applicant to disclose their unspent convictions, and this is why there are no eligibility requirements to apply for this check.

How can you obtain a basic disclosure?

There are a number of ways in which you can obtain basic disclosures. Identifying the best option largely depends on your reason for needing the check.

If your employer is looking for the check to confirm details of any unspent convictions you may have, then they can apply for the basic disclosure on your behalf. This involves the company registering with an umbrella body and applying for the check for you.

If you’re looking for the check for other reasons then you’ll probably need to apply for the check yourself. You can do this by visiting the appropriate governing body’s website.

For those living and working in England or Wales, your check will be issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service. For those living and working in Scotland, your check will be issued by Disclosure Scotland.

What are basic disclosures useful for?

As we’ve highlighted previously, employers are legally allowed to ask any applicant for information regarding their unspent convictions. These checks are therefore useful for employers to confirm the details of these convictions, or to confirm a clear record.

Individuals can also apply for these checks in advance of the recruitment process, which may benefit them when it comes to applying for jobs.

In addition, basic disclosures are often required when applying for certain visas, or when applying for a personal licence to sell alcohol.

However, it’s important to note that for any role classed as ‘exempt’ in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, and potentially also the Police Act 1997, employers will be legally able to apply for a higher level of criminal record check on behalf of applicants.

These checks will usually be either a standard or enhanced DBS check, depending on the type of role. These checks will detail more information than a basic disclosure, including any spent or unspent convictions an applicant has, as well as cautions, warning or reprimands they’ve received. These checks can only be requested by employers, and not by applicants themselves.

As a result, basic disclosures, whilst useful for a vast number of roles, may not be the most suitable level of check for some. It’s worth confirming whether a role will require a higher level of check before applying.

Basic disclosures: A summary

Basic disclosures form an important part of the criminal record checking process by providing details of any unspent convictions an applicant has.

Here are the key points to remember when it comes to basic disclosures:

  • Any employer in the UK can apply for this check on behalf of job applicants.
  • Individuals can also apply for the check themselves, most commonly for visa or licensing purposes.
  • The check will either by issued by the DBS or Disclosure Scotland, depending on where the applicant is living and working.
  • If an individual is working in a role which is eligible for a higher level of DBS check, then a basic disclosure wouldn’t be suitable.

Looking to get started requesting basic disclosures for your employees? Register here!

Any further questions? No problem, you can get in touch by calling 0800 197 8800 or using our online contact form here.