DBS Guidance and Documentation

This page of our website will provide regular updates on how to process DBS checks and the latest guidance received from the DBS; we hope you find this information useful.


Escalation of Applications

Applications received from organisations and countersigned by the ARC Disclosure Service team can only be escalated (raised as a delayed/outstanding application) 60 working days from the date of countersigning/submitting to the DBS.

When an application is ‘escalated’ this will be raised with the relevant Police Force who are responsible for administering the level of check, including making a decision to prioritise a check or completing an escalation request.  When a check is sent to the police there is a negotiated Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place with the police which allows them 60 days to receive, review and respond to the request.  If at any point they return the check to the DBS for confirmation of any of the information provided to them ie. as a ‘conflict’, the DBS will investigate and then return the check to the police.  At present this action re-sets the 60 day clock back to zero and the police have a further 60 days.

There are a number of factors that can affect the timely completion of checks, including but not restricted to, the accurate completion of the application, the clarity of the information provided, the existence of conviction or non-conviction information and the operational effectiveness of the Disclosure Units at the police forces involved in the Enhanced Disclosure process.  If the applicant has provided all the mandatory information, then a completion of the initial stages of the check is done within a matter of days.

Identity Checking Rules from 3rd December 2018

The DBS updated the Identity (ID) checking guidelines for Basic, Standard and Enhanced checks in December 2018.  The old rules can no longer be used.

The following information details some of the planned changes:

Checking by Video –

A live video link can now be used as an alternative to face-to-face examination of identity documents.  However, it is important to note that the person carrying out the identity checks must be in possession of the original documents.  Should you choose to carry out ID checks in this way, any risks identified when using live video must be assessed and mitigated by you. You must not rely on the inspection of the documents via a live video link or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document.

Irish Passport Card –

An Irish Passport Card has been added to Group 2b.  However, please note it cannot be used with an Irish passport.

New documents available for Non European Economic Area applicants:

The following can now be used:

  • A Permanent Residence Card issued by the Home Office to the family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland
  • A Positive Verification Notice issued by the Home Office Employer Checking Service to the employer or prospective employer, which indicates that the named person may stay in the UK and is permitted to do the work in question

Changes to requirements:

A Passport is no longer required as an additional item for the following 3 documents:

  • A current Residence Card (including an Accession Residence Card or a Derivative Residence Card) issued by the Home Office to a non-European Economic Area national who is a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland or who has a derivative right of residence.
  • A current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK, and is allowed to do the type of work in question, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.
  • A current Immigration Status Document issued by the Home Office to the holder with an endorsement indicating that the named person is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK or has no time limit on their stay in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.

The new ID checking information is available on the DBS website www.gov.uk/dbs or ID checking guidelines

Application Errors – get it right first time!

To enable your applications to be processed faster, here are a few areas which will speed up your application:

  • workforce selected is incorrect
  • if a barring list is requested please make sure it is for the appropriate workforce
  • other forename(s) not completed – you must make sure that all forenames are included on the application
  • job titles not sufficient ie an application cannot be processed with the title ‘Volunteer’ please state type of role the volunteer will be undertaking – please refer to the definition of ‘volunteer’ roles.
  • Ms is entered in the title field – the system will recognise this as the applicant having a change of surname and ask for further information.  If the applicant has not had a change of name please enter name at date of birth and include the birth date from birth to the date of the application
  • first line of the applicants address needs to show the house number and the name of the road, do not enter these details on the 1st and 2nd line of the address fields
  • Post Code – entered in capitals and a space is included in the post code – ie S40 1JY
  • Driving licence details must be entered exactly as the driving licence number, some problems occur when the applicant has not entered a middle name/s on the application, but a middle name is shown on the driving licence number.

 Information and Guidance

Below are a number of useful resources for employers using the ARC Disclosure Service for DBS checks (England and Wales)

Hints and Tips on completing an online DBS application

ID Checking Guidelines from 3rd September 2018

CQC DBS Guidance for Providers

DBS Helping Employers make safer recruiting decisions

Getting a DBS check (overview)

DBS Eligibility Guidance (English & Welsh)

DBS Code of Practice Nov 15

DBS Privacy Policies


New Definition of Regulated Activities Summary

Regulated Activity – Adults – POFA 2012

Regulated activity in relation to children: Scope

DBS Checks for Childcare Providers

DBS Home Based Position Guidance

DBS Home Based Position Update 27 April 15

DBS Home Based Position Flowchart

Volunteer Roles DBS Guidance


DBS Adult Workforce Guidance

DBS Child Workforce Guidance

DBS Other Workforce Guidance


DBS ID Checking Guidance

Documents Applicants need for ID

DBS Reprint Guidance

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Policy templates for ex-offenders (English & Welsh)

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

SVGA Amended Schedule 4 – Parts 2 & 3



You can also find more information on the GOV.UK website page Guidance for Employers