Disclosure and Barring Service

The primary role of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups including children.

Disclosure & Barring ServiceThe DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and merges the functions previously carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

The DBS searches police records and, in relevant cases, barred list information, and then issues a DBS certificate to the applicant and employer to help them make an informed recruitment decision.

DBS checks are only available where an employer is entitled to ask exempted questions under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. The Exceptions Order acts as the gateway for access to the DBS checking service and lists those occupations, professions and positions considered to be exempt from the ROA.

The checking service currently offers two levels of DBS check; standard and enhanced. The order allows for applications to be submitted to a standard level. To qualify for the higher level of DBS check, the position must also meet one of the criteria set out in The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations.

The DBS recognises that information released on DBS certificates can be extremely sensitive and personal. Therefore a code of practice for recipients of DBS certificates has been developed to ensure that any information they contain is handled fairly and used properly.

The legislative changes that amend the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVGA) and the Police Act 1997 regulations, which the DBS checking service is based on, were introduced through the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA).

Catch 22 is an Umbrella Body, registered with the DBS, to provide access to the DBS service to other organisations (Registered Body No. 22631600003). Umbrella Bodies have the same responsibilities as Registered Bodies and must take reasonable steps to ensure that any organisation they are countersigning on behalf of also complies with the relevant responsibilities and obligations.

Umbrella Bodies play an important role in the success of the DBS as they provide the mechanism by which many smaller organisations will access DBS checks.

Organisations who are entitled to use the DBS checking service can ask successful job applicants to apply for one of the following types of check depending on the job role.

  • standard check
  • enhanced check
  • enhanced with a barred list check

The minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a DBS check is 16 years old.

To find out more information about who is eligible for a DBS check download the DBS eligibility guide.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) charges a fee to process applications for criminal records checks.

Both standard and enhanced checks require a fee. The fees to process criminal records checks are:

Type of check Fee Catch 22 Admin Total
Standard DBS check £26 £14 £40
Enhanced DBS check £44 £21 £65
Enhanced DBS & barred list check (child) £44 £21 £65
Enhanced DBS & barred list check (adult) £44 £21 £65
Enhanced DBS & barred list check (both) £44 £21 £65
DBS adult first check £6 £10 £16
Volunteer FOC £15 £15

Discounted rates are available for multiple/regular requirements

Legislation states that the applicant must pay; however, employers may decide to reimburse the fee upon the decision to offer employment.


DBS checks are free of charge to volunteers. The DBS defines a volunteer as:

‘A person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than, or in addition to, a close relative.’

The DBS recognises that the Standard and Enhanced Disclosure information can be extremely sensitive and personal, therefore it has published a Code of Practice and employers’ guidance for recipients of Disclosures to ensure they are handled fairly and used properly.

A copy of the Standard or Enhanced Disclosure will be sent out ONLY to the applicant.

Catch 22 is entitled to ask exempted questions under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 Exceptions Order 1975 or will countersign applications on behalf of people or organisations who themselves are entitled to ask exempted questions.

Our role is to:

  • Check and validate the information provided by the applicant on the application form
  • Establish the true identity of the applicant, through the examination of a range of documents using guidance provided by the DBS
  • Ensure the application form is fully completed and the information it contains is accurate
  • Countersign applications to confirm that the organisation has an entitlement to access criminal record information
  • To comply with the DBS’s Code of Practice –click here to view

Information Further information may be obtained by calling Don Searle at Catch 22 on 020 7220 8900 or by visiting the DBS Website – http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/dbs/

Whether you are looking to find the right person or the right job, temp, permanent or contract,Catch 22 has all the experience and expertise you need.

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