DBS checks are criminal record checks issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service which provide details of an applicant’s criminal history. In the UK there are three main levels of check, these include:

Enhanced DBS:

What is an Enhanced DBS check?
An Enhanced DBS is the most comprehensive level of DBS check available, and includes the facility for checks against the child and adult’s barred lists to be included.

What will it detail?
This level of check will detail both an applicant’s spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands they may have received so long as they are not protected. It also includes the facility for barred list checks to be included if suitable, and for the police authorities to disclose any additional information they hold if they deem it relevant.

Who is it suitable for?
This level of check is only available to request on behalf of applicants who are working or volunteering in certain roles. For Enhanced DBS checks, this typically includes those interacting with children or vulnerable adults.

Standard DBS:

What is a Standard DBS check?
A Standard DBS check is a check issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service which contains comprehensive criminal record information, but doesn’t include the facility for barred list checks.

What will it detail?
This level of check will detail both an applicant’s spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, warnings or reprimands they may have received so long as they are not protected.

Who is it suitable for?
The Standard DBS is only available to request by organisations on behalf of applicants who are working or volunteering in certain roles. For a Standard DBS, these are commonly those working in certain finance or legal roles.

Basic DBS:

What is a Basic DBS check?
A Basic DBS check is a check issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is the lowest level of DBS check available meaning there are no eligibility requirements in place to apply for one.

What will it detail?
It will detail any convictions considered unspent under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. These are commonly referred to as recent and/or serious convictions.

Who is it suitable for?
This check has no eligibility criteria in place, meaning any employer can request it on behalf of their prospective employees or volunteers. The check is not job specific and may be used more than once.

Employers should take care to ensure that this is the most suitable level of check for their applicants, and that they are not eligible for a higher level, such as a Standard or Enhanced DBS before requesting a Basic DBS.