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Top 5 Questions Asked About CRB Checks

What is a CRB check?

A Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check was a way for employers to learn about the criminal records of current and potential employees. In 2012, CRB checks were replaced by DBS checks when the Criminal Records Bureau merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and subsequently became known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

CRB checks (now DBS checks) are required to help an employer make an informed decision about whether an employee can work with vulnerable adults or children. Although there is no legal requirement for DBS Checks in any role, many employers and regulated bodies have DBS Checks as part of their recruitment policies and procedures.

However, there are still a few common questions about CRB checks (now DBS Checks) that you might want to know the answers to. We’ve put together the five we hear most, along with answers provided by our expert team.


1. Can I Get a CRB Check if I am Self Employed?

If you are a self employed individual, with no other employees within your business, you can get your own criminal record check. The only level of CRB Check available for a self employed individual is a Basic check.

The Standard and Enhanced CRB Checks are only available for companies to obtain on behalf of their employees. The company would need to have at least 2 members of staff officially employed by the business to be able to access the Standard or Enhanced CRB Check.

To apply for your own Basic check please call us on 01254 355688 or apply online.


2. How often do I need to renew my CRB Check?

There is no official expiry date on a CRB Check. It is the decision of either the employer or organisation as to when they would like their checks to be renewed.

There is a date on the certificate which indicates when the check was completed and issued. An employer is not informed if more information is added to the applicants criminal record since a CRB Check was completed on that individual. Therefore, organisations renew their employees CRB Checks for the purposes of best practice.


3. How do I renew my CRB Check?

Once you have had a CRB Check carried out on yourself, there is no faster way to get and upgrade or renew your check. You have to complete the same application form each time you would like to renew your CRB Check.

It is at the discretion of your employer as to whether they would like your CRB Check to be renewed. Organisations have their own policies as to how often they require their staff to renew their CRB Check. For example, Ofsted require all organisations within the educational sector that are registered with them, to ensure all employees’ CRB Checks are renewed every 3 years. Some organisations ask employees to renew their CRB Checks annually.

The DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) formerly known as the CRB, have announced that in spring 2013 they will create a new system where CRB Checks will become portable.

For more information about portable CRB Checks contact Personnel Checks on 01254 355688


4. How do I know if I have passed or failed my CRB Check?

You cannot pass or fail for a CRB Check.

A CRB Check is a search of the Police National Computer (PNC) for your criminal history. It is then the decision of the relevant employer, client or organisation to make a sound recruitment decision based on what information the certificate presents.

There are the different levels of CRB Check and each differ in the information they search for:

  • A Basic Disclosure searches for all Unspent Convictions
  • A Standard CRB Check searches for all Cautions, Warnings, Reprimands and Convictions
  • An Enhanced CRB Check searches for all Cautions, Warnings, Reprimands and Convictions. This will also search if the applicant is listed on the ISA’S Barred Lists for working with both children or vulnerable adults.


5.  Is there a legal requirement to have a CRB Check?

There are no legal requirements for anybody to have a CRB Check, it is a public service which organisations and employers can access if they wish to enquire about their employees criminal histories. It is recommended that all organisations use this public service for best practice, to ensure they create a safe working environment, especially if their employees are working with either children or vulnerable adults.

It is the responsibility of the employer or organisation to organise CRB Checks for existing or new members of staff. Any company is eligible to access CRB Checks for their staff – the level of check they can access will depend on the roles and responsibilities of the applicants.

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