Employers may ask for a DBS check if you apply for certain roles. This is a check of your criminal record which is processed by the DBS or Disclosure and Barring Service, previously known as the CRB or Criminal Records Bureau.

A Basic DBS check will show unspent convictions only.

An Enhanced DBS check can show both spent and unspent convictions as well as cautions, warnings and reprimands. It can also check the children and vulnerable adults ‘barred list’ to see if you are prohibited from working with vulnerable groups and any local police information.

Who can request a DBS check?

If you want a check of your own criminal record to give to an employer, you can request a Basic DBS check. 

Enhanced DBS checks can only be requested by organisations that are registered and listed with the DBS. These will be organisations in areas of employment regarded as having a significant health and safety risk to vulnerable customers or clients, for example individuals working with children or in healthcare.  

It is a legal requirement in the UK for regulated activity employers to refer safeguarding concerns to the DBS. 

I’m self-employed. How can I get an Enhanced DBS check for myself?

You can't request an Enhanced DBS check for yourself. Only registered employers can request this level of check.

I'm a BACP member. Can BACP request an Enhanced DBS check for me?

We can't request checks for members as counselling and psychotherapy aren’t listed as professions which must be subject to an Enhanced DBS check.

Some professional bodies act as umbrella organisations for self-employed members, why can't BACP?

We can't act as an umbrella organisation for our members because we're not on the list of registered organisations that are entitled to request Enhanced DBS checks on individuals.

We can't apply to be a registered organisation because counselling and psychotherapy aren't listed as professions which must be subject to an Enhanced DBS checks.

Further information

DBS customer services
Email: customerservices@dbs.gsi.gov.uk
Telephone: 03000 200 190
Minicom: 03000 200 192
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, Saturday, 10am to 5pm

Apply for a Basic DBS check:
England and Wales
Northern Ireland