DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

DBS Checks is a leading umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service and has been named one of the top 8 providers for criminal record checks in the UK.

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What’s The Difference Between A CRB Check & DBS Check

Dec 1, 2022 | DBS

Many people get confused between a CRB and DBS check or think that they’re the same thing. However, this isn’t quite true. While a CRB and DBS Check do have some similarities, they are very different. Here, we explain what a CRB and DBS check is as well as the differences between the two. 

What Is A CRB Check?

A CRB check was a check on an individual’s criminal history, like a DBS check. It was originally carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau using information supplied by the Police National Computer (PNC). This all changed in 2012 with the introduction of the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Today, some people still have a CRB certificate; however, you cannot get these checks anymore, nor are they valid. You now need to obtain a new DBS check.

What Is A DBS Check? 

As mentioned above, the DBS check is carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service. This entity was formed in 2012 by the merging of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). 

By combining these two groups, the process of obtaining a background check became more streamlined. Now, the DBS can conduct criminal background checks and see whether someone is listed on the children or vulnerable adults barred list. Previously, these were two separate tasks carried out by the CRB and ISA, respectively. 

Types Of DBS Checks

There are three levels of DBS checks, each of which reflects its own level of information. A Basic DBS Check is like a level one check. Any individual can ask for this background check, and it will highlight any unspent convictions against a person. 

Next, there is the Standard DBS Check. Only employers or organisations, whom an individual is applying to work for, can request this check. This will show whether an individual has received cautions, reprimands, warnings or spent and unspent convictions

Lastly, there is the Enhanced DBS check, which is the highest level check available. This indicates the same information as a standard check; however, it also allows employers to see whether an individual has been banned from working with children or other vulnerable groups of people.

DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

CRB vs DBS Check: How Do They Differ? 

Essentially, CRB and DBS checks are the same. The only real difference is that a DBS check can also reflect a person’s status on the barred list. This is due to the merging of the CRB and ISA, who originally carried these checks out and issued certificates separately. Now, the process is far more efficient and streamlined. 

What Does This Change From CRB To DBS Mean?

The main change is that the CRB and ISA have merged, and you can no longer apply for a CRB check. However, a DBS check will highlight the same information that would be found on a CRB check. Additionally, it now makes it possible to conduct a check on the barred list during an Enhanced DBS Check, should it be needed. 

CRB checks did not have an expiry date, so technically, they are still valid. However, most employers will ask for a more recent DBS check. This is partially due to the fact that employers in some sectors are legally required to conduct regular criminal checks on their staff. 



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