The DBS Conviction Filtering Process- How does it work?


Since May 2013 the DBS has adopted a filtering process, meaning that some cautions and convictions will automatically no longer be disclosed on any level of DBS check.

This was implemented in response to a court case which challenged the right of the DBS to disclose all criminal record information, when in some instances this included minor offences. Having to disclose some minor offences to an employer was deemed to be, in some instances, unjustifiable.

How do I know if my caution/conviction is filtered?

Some cautions and convictions will never be filtered from a DBS disclosure. This will be determined by the DBS as a result of how serious the conviction is.

For a comprehensive list please see the DBS website.

In addition, an individual who has received a custodial sentence, whether that was suspended or not, will never be eligible to have the offence filtered. Equally, if an individual has received more than one conviction, the offences, no matter how minor, will never be filtered.

However, certain cautions and convictions will be filtered depending on the time since it was committed, and the age of the offender at the time of the offence. The DBS are the only organisation that can do this, as they complete the vetting on the application.

For instance, an individual who has received a caution that is eligible for filtering when they were under 18 will have their caution filtered in 2 years. If they were over 18 at the time, it would take 6 years to be filtered. To find more information on timescales, please visit the website Unlock.

Unlock is an independent charity for people with convictions whom need information, advice and support about their criminal record history.

How does this affect me as an employer?

The filtering process should not affect employers greatly, as when requesting a DBS check, whether it’s a standard or enhanced disclosure, they will always still be able to see the information that they are legally entitled to see regarding the applicant.

Any cautions or convictions that have been filtered are classed as ‘protected’, and therefore, as the employer, you would not legally be able to request this information. It is worth noting however that filtering does not mean that the conviction has been removed from the person’s record but only it is not disclosed on the certificate as this would be classed as unwarrantable.

If an employer is legally entitled to ask an applicant to disclose their criminal record then the employer needs to make the applicant aware that they do not need to disclose any information that is classed as ‘protected’. For reference though, all employers are allowed to ask about any unspent convictions an applicant may have. For more information about unspent convictions,  please visit the website Unlock.

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