DBS Checks – The Common Myths

Fact Myth Signpost Meaning Correct Or Incorrect Information



Here at the CRBS we are very much aware of myths surrounding DBS checks which can often confuse applicants and employers alike. As a result we have created this guide in order to try and diffuse any confusion and make the process simpler to understand.

“Anyone can request a DBS check


People often make the assumption that anyone can request a DBS check and implicitly, that all DBS checks are the same. Both of these statements are in fact untrue.

There are three levels of criminal record checks, a basic, a standard and enhanced disclosure.

Both the standard and enhanced disclosures are processed by the DBS and these are only available to those working within certain professions/sectors, most commonly with vulnerable adults or children.

What’s more is you cannot request to just have a DBS check; there is certain legal criteria that needs to be met.

Also, both these types of checks need to be requested by an employer meaning an individual cannot request either of these checks on themselves.

Basic level checks can be requested by both individuals and employers alike and there are no eligibility requirements, therefore any adult/person over 16 years old is able to apply for one.

“Having a DBS certificate means I have a clear criminal record”


Having a DBS certificate does not mean that there is nothing on an individual’s criminal record.

These checks do no operate on a pass or fail system; rather a certificate will detail information of a person’s criminal record, or produce a ‘clear’ result if they have a clear record.

The different levels of check indicate how much/what type of information could be disclosed e.g. a basic criminal record check will not detail any cautions, warnings or reprimands whereas an enhanced level check would display all this information.

The information on a DBS check is designed to help the employer asses an individual’s suitability for the job role that they have applied for, hence why only certain professions require higher levels of checks.

“DBS checks are valid until their expiry date”


One of the most common questions we are asked at the CRBS is when does an individual need a new DBS check?

Contrary to popular belief, DBS checks do not have expiry dates, this is because the criminal record information is accurate only at the time of issue. Consequently there is no set date when the information is deemed invalid.

How often to request new DBS checks is normally the prerogative of the employer, however depending on the job sector, a regulatory body may have standards for requesting new DBS checks.

For instance the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted both recommend a time period of every 1-3 years.

Therefore, the employer should ensure they request new DBS checks periodically and should check with their regulatory body for any specific guidance.

If you have any questions regarding DBS checks or need any further information about the DBS process in general then please do not hesitate to contact us here at the CRBS on 0800 197 8800