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A CRB check stands for Criminal Records Bureau Check and uses the PNC (Police National Computer) to search an individual’s criminal history.

In December 2012 the CRB merged with The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to become the DBS, which is why you may see them referred to as DBS Checks.

There are 3 levels of criminal record disclosures;

Basic Disclosure

This is processed by a governing body, Disclosure Scotland and searches any ‘unspent’ convictions an individual may have.

Standard CRB Check

This is more in depth than the basic check and searches for any cautions, warnings, reprimands or convictions considered ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’.

Enhanced CRB Check

This is the most extensive level of check and just like the Standard CRB Check will search for any cautions, warnings, reprimands or convictions considered ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’. In addition, the Enhanced CRB Check can also search the children and adult Barred Lists to check the applicant isn’t barred from working with children or adults.

The local police also have the opportunity to disclose any additional information they may hold on the applicant.

As an individual you will be able to access the Basic Disclosure, this is the lowest level of criminal record check and will search for any ‘unspent’ convictions on an applicants’ criminal record. This will take approximately 2 – 3 weeks to complete after Personnel Checks have received the completed application form.

The higher levels of CRB Check, the Standard and Enhanced Checks are available only for employers to access on their employees. An individual cannot apply for a Standard or Enhanced Check for themselves.

Basic Disclosure

This is processed by the Governing Body, Disclosure Scotland. Please do not be confused by their name, they process Basic Checks for all individuals living in the UK.

The Basic Disclosure shows any ‘unspent’ convictions and is the only level of criminal record check available for individuals to apply for.

Standard CRB Check

This searches the PNC (Police National Computer) for any cautions, warnings reprimands and convictions considered ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’

The standard check is not available to individuals and must be applied for by an employer on an employee’s behalf.

Enhanced CRB Check

The Enhanced CRB Check is the most in depth level of CRB Check and just like the Standard Check searches for all cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions considered ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’. In addition, where relevant, the Enhanced CRB Check will also search the children and adults Barred Lists to check the applicant isn’t barred from working with these groups.

The applicant’s local police also have the opportunity to add any other relevant information which they hold on the applicant.

The Enhanced Check is also only available for employers to access for their staff, individuals cannot access this level.

The purpose of an Enhanced CRB Check is to provide employers with information about an applicants’ criminal history to enable them to make a sound recruitment decision based on the results of the CRB Check.

Therefore, Enhanced CRB Checks are only available for companies to access on behalf of their employees.

Individuals are unable to apply for an Enhanced Check for themselves.

An unspent conviction is a conviction on a person’s record which hasn’t exceeded the time of the relevant rehabilitation period. Once this rehabilitation period has ended the conviction will then become ‘spent’.

The length of rehabilitation periods depends on the severity of the offence, with some convictions never becoming ‘spent’.

A volunteer CRB Check is exactly the same as a Standard or Enhanced CRB Check, the only difference is the price is reduced for volunteers.

You must meet certain qualifying criteria to be able to access a volunteer CRB Check.

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 defines a volunteer as:

 “A Person who is engaged in any activity which involves spending time, unpaid doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than, or in addition to, a close relative.

In order for an applicant to qualify for a Volunteer CRB Check they must not:

  • Receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out –of-pocket expenses)
  • Be on a placement
  • Be on a course that requires them to do this job role
  • Be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role or qualification

As volunteer level checks are only available at Standard or Enhanced level, they must be applied for by the organisation the applicant is volunteering for. Applicants will not be able to access volunteer CRB Checks themselves.

Any organisation can apply for CRB Checks for their members of staff. We will need to establish which level of check your employees will be eligible for.This depends on the type of work they are carrying out.

In order to find out which level of CRB Check you can access for your employees, find your sector on the drop down menu above or call Personnel Checks and speak to an experienced advisor.

Processing time depends on the level of CRB Check you have applied for;

Basic Disclosure

For companies who order basic checks, these can be processed online which takes around 1 week to complete. Individuals can apply for Basic Disclosures themselves which is a slightly longer process, this normally takes between 2-3 weeks after we have received the completed application form. The Basic Disclosure Certificate will be sent to you on completion of the check which will show any ‘unspent’ convictions on an applicants’ criminal record.


Standard & Enhanced CRB Checks

These checks can be completed online which significantly speeds up the process. 50% of Standard and Enhanced Checks are usually processed within 1 week. In some cases checks are returned within 24 hours! The completed certificate will be sent to the applicants' home address

There is no official expiry date on any level of CRB check; however for best practice purposes many companies renew their employees CRB Checks on a regular basis, usually every year.

It is up to the organisation obtaining the criminal record checks as to how often they renew their employees CRB Checks.

We offer a free reminder service to make sure your CRB Checks are kept up to date. Simply tell us how often you would like to renew your checks and we’ll send you a friendly reminder when they’re due for renewal. That’s one less thing for you to remember!

Here at Personnel Checks we pride ourselves on the fact that you will always be able to speak to an advisor over the telephone as soon as you call. We have no automated telephone service; just real people on the other end of the phone taking every call.

Your dedicated Account Manager will keep you informed at every stage of the process so you always know exactly where you’re up to with all of your applicants.

We understand that no two companies work in the same way, that’s why we tailor our service to meet your needs.

We are totally committed to the best possible customer service. We deal with all requests on the same day and if you’re an organisation carrying out checks on your employees, we can speak with your applicants directly taking the hassle away from you.

Our fast and efficient fully online Ebulk service significantly reduces the waiting time for CRB Checks so you can have your applicants working for you in no time!

We have a dedicated compliance team who thoroughly check through all applications to ensure they have been completed correctly before being sent for processing. This will eliminate any chance of your form being delayed once it reaches the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Unfortunately companies who carry out less than 100 CRB Checks a year cannot apply directly for CRB Checks and must use a registered Umbrella Body.

This is where Personnel Checks can help; we have a team of expert advisors who can guide you through the often complex process of CRB Checks.

There are other larger companies who do carry out much more than 100 CRB Checks a year but chose to outsource this service to an Umbrella Body in order to save time and money.

Personnel Checks is a registered Umbrella Body for the DBS, Disclosure Scotland and Access NI. We have a close relationship with these Umbrella Bodies and as a result are always the first to know of any changes in procedures or legislation which we then pass on to you straight away.

The DBS Adult First Check is part of the Enhanced CRB Check and is exclusive to the care industry.

You can apply for a DBS Adult First Check for a carer and receive an email within 72 hours which will state if the applicant is allowed to start work previous to the employer receiving the completed CRB Check.

Please note the DBS Adult First Check can only be obtained along with an Enhanced CRB Check.

The level of CRB Check you can apply for is entirely dependent on the type of work your role involves.

To find out which level of check you should apply for find your sector in the dropdown menu above or call and speak to a friendly advisor at Personnel Checks.

Ebulk is an online service which allows applicants to submit their CRB applications through the secure criminal justice server in order to be processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) formerly known as the CRB.

This method eliminates any need for paper applications and is a much quicker way to process a CRB application.

In December 2012, the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to become the DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service.

The DBS now process all criminal record check requests from Umbrella Bodies such as Personnel Checks.

This change has led to CRB Checks becoming known as DBS Checks, although the criminal record check process has not changed. Applicants must still complete DBS application forms and submit them for processing.

The DBS now process all Standard and Enhanced Criminal Record checks.