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Requesting DBS Certificate Numbers

The Disclosure & Barring service receive a large number of enquiries from customers asking for DBS certificate numbers after a certificate has been issued to an applicant.

You should be aware that simply requesting the certificate numbers for previously checked applicants will not reveal whether or not they have a criminal background. This is a worrying trend which has been increasing over the last couple of years and individuals have told us that organisations are now asking them to provide their certificate numbers on application of a job.

Personnel Checks will always consider requests for DBS certificate numbers, however, it is important to remember that a certificate number alone will only prove that a DBS check has been carried out on the individual at not the following information:

  • The level of check applied for
  • What the check contained- if any information
  • Barring information – (whether the applicant is barred from working with vulnerable groups)
  • The date the certificate was issued

If as an employer you are happy to accept a previously issued certificate from a candidate, it is important that you see the actual certificate and not rely simply on the fact that a check has been carried out.

The information provided on a DBS certificate helps employers make an assessment on a person’s suitability for a position, therefore it’s crucial that you actually see the certificate to help you make an informed decision.

It is against the law to employ someone or allow them to volunteer in regulated activity if you are aware they are barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults. Likewise, candidates will be breaking the law if they seek to work in regulated activity with a group in which they are barred.

Looking for more information on the barred lists? Find out all the information you need by visiting our website here.


If you have previously applied for a DBS check with Personnel Checks, we can provide the number to a recruitment decision maker or applicant.

The DBS will not provide certificate numbers on request therefore if you have not applied for your check with Personnel Checks we will not be able to request those details.  

If would like to apply for a DBS check, you can do this online or you can call a member of the Personnel Checks team on 01254 355688.

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