How to Update and Check DBS in the Update Service: The acronym DBS, Simply means Disclosure Barring Service. If you have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom legally then you must be subjected to a DBS check by the UK authorities when ever you apply for a job and you have been offered or about to be offered the role applied for.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps UK employers make safer recruitment decisions each year by processing and issuing DBS checks for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. DBS also maintains the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists, and makes considered decisions as to whether an individual should be included on one or both of these lists and barred from engaging in regulated activity.

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There are four types of DBS checks, and each type results in a DBS certificate being issued to an individual. Employers can then ask to see the certificate to ensure that they are recruiting suitable people into their organisation.

The four levels of DBS check are:

  • Basic DBS check
  • Standard DBS check
  • Enhanced DBS check
  • Enhanced with Barred List(s) DBS check

The information contained on each type of check is different but all related and aimed at carrying out secruity checks on the applicant.


1. Basic DBS Check

A Basic DBS check is for any purpose, including employment. The certificate will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.

An individual can apply for a Basic check directly to DBS through our online application route, or an employer can apply for a basic check on an individual’s behalf, through a Responsible Organisation, if they have consent.

2. Standard DBS check

A Standard DBS check is suitable for certain roles, such as a security guard. The certificate will contain details of both spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings that are held on the Police National Computer, which are not subject to filtering.

An individual cannot apply for a standard check by themselves. There must be a recruiting organisation who needs the applicant to get the check. This is then sent to DBS through a Registered Body.

The service is free for volunteers.

3. Enhanced DBS check

An Enhanced DBS check is suitable for people working with children or adults in certain circumstances such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care. An Enhanced DBS check is also suitable for a small number of other roles such as taxi licence applications or people working in the Gambling Commission.

The certificate will contain the same details as a standard certificate and, if the role is eligible, an employer can request that one or both of the DBS Barred Lists are checked.

The certificate may also contain non-conviction information supplied by relevant police forces, if it is deemed relevant and ought to be contained in the certificate.

An individual cannot apply for an Enhanced DBS check by themselves. There must be a recruiting organisation who needs the applicant to get the check. This is then sent to DBS through a Registered Body.

The service is free for volunteers.

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The various types of DBS certificates discussed above may all have different contents but are all similar and closely related. For instance an Enhanced DBS will explicitly state that the certificate is for Child and Adult Workforce (Support worker, Healthcare Assistant etc.) whereas the Basic DBS is like a general purpose check including for employment purposes. All of them are geared towards carrying out a background security check on you to ascertain your eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.

Basic Features/Content of a DBS Certificate are:

  1. The Employee’s full name, Residential Address with the right Postcode.
  2. A statement weather the DBS check was charged a fee or done free by your prospective employer
  3. Applicants Personal Details, names, other names, date of birth, place of birth, gender etc.
  4. DBS Certificate Number
  5. Date of Certificate issue
  6. Employment Details- Position applied for, name of employer (Company name), counter-signatory details- Register- UCHECK, Counter-signatory officer’s name.


To update your certificate in the update service, take note that the period allowed to update your certificate is 30 days from the date of issue. Meaning that failure to do this within this stipulated time you cannot update a particular certificate in the DBS online update service, that means that if you have a need to apply for subsequent jobs in the close future and the employer thinks they want to hire you they have to subject you to a fresh check again because you do not have your certificate/information on the update service. However, there is a fee of £13 payable online for the update service charge and this has a annual renewal. Moreso, the fee employers who charge applicants for DBS check  is currently £52 and you keep paying this sum for every employer who wants to hire you except you have your DBS certificate registered on the DBS Update Service

**STEPS To Register Your Certificate in The DBS Update Service

  1. Click HERE Visit the UK Government DBS Update Service link
  2. Tick the given box to accept their privacy policy
  3. Fill in your details correctly and submit the form
  4. Make payment of £13 pounds from your credit or debit card.
  5. Complete the process and get your update service ID
  6. When you get the confirmation subscription page and the update service ID keep it safe as you will require the ID and your date of birth to login


This guidance details the process for an applicant to view their DBS basic certificate online. To complete this process you MUST have applied for a DBS update service to have your DBS certificate added on the update service. To achieve this as well you must have your DBS reference ID issued to you during your application. This Reference ID is auto-generated immediately the £13 payment is confirmed and verified by the system.


  1. Click HERE to Login to your profile in the DBS update Service
  2. In the next page enter your Update Service ID and your correct Date of birth details provided during your DBS Update Service registration/payment
  3. If the Update service ID and Date of Birth details entered above are correct, you would be logged in to  your DBS Update service page where you can view your registered profile details. From this page as well you can find out employers who have carried out a check on you.

**DBS Barred Lists:

  1. Police Records of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, and Warnings
  2. Information from the list held under section 142 of the education Act 2002
  3. DBS Children’s Barred List Information
  4. DBS Adults Barred List Information
  5. Other Relevant Information Disclosed at the Chief Police Officer’s Discretion
  6. And Contact details/post of the DBS- Disclosure Barring Service, P.O.Box 165, Liverpool, L69 3JD Helpline 03000200190

There maybe slight differences with the various DBS types but the goal is geared towards carrying out a background security checks on a prospective employee.

DBS Referral

If you work or intend to work in the United Kingdom, please pay close attention on this one- DBS Referral. This is when an employer, volunteer manager, or other organisation has concerns that someone has either caused harm or has the potential to cause harm to vulnerable groups and submits a barring referral to DBS.

Regulated activity providers (employers or volunteer managers of people working in regulated activity in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and personnel suppliers have a legal duty to refer to DBS where certain conditions are met.

Referrals can be made online or via post.

Who can make a referral?

According to Gov. UK, Under legislation, the following can make referrals to the DBS:

  • local authorities
  • A Personnel Supplier, employment business or Employment Agency
  • education authority in Northern Ireland
  • health and social care bodies in Northern Ireland
  • keepers of register in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • supervisory authorities in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • and

The power to refer happens when an organisation is not acting as a regulated activity provider. This will usually be when the organisation is undertaking their safeguarding role.

The power to refer can be used when an organisation thinks a person has either:

  • harmed or poses a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult
  • has satisfied the harm test; or
  • has received a caution or conviction for a relevant offence and;
  • the person they’re referring is, has or might in future be working in regulated activity and;
  • the DBS may consider it appropriate for the person to be added to a barred list

If you are a regulated activity provider or fall within the category of personnel supplier, you must make a referral when both of the following conditions have been met:

Condition 1

  • you withdraw permission for a person to engage in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults. Or you move the person to another area of work that isn’t regulated activity.

This includes situations when you would have taken the above action, but the person was re-deployed, resigned, retired, or left. For example, a teacher resigns when an allegation of harm to a student is first made.

Condition 2

You think the person has carried out 1 of the following:

  • engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children and/or adults. An action or inaction has harmed a child or vulnerable adult or put them at risk or harm or;
  • satisfied the harm test in relation to children and / or vulnerable adults. eg there has been no relevant conduct but a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable still exists or
  • been cautioned or convicted of a relevant (automatic barring either with or without the right to make representations ) offence

What is a vulnerable adult?

The term ‘vulnerable adult’ has been amended as it was felt to be inappropriate to label an adult
as vulnerable solely due to their circumstances, age or disability. In general terms, an adult (a
person aged 18 or over) is classed as vulnerable when they are receiving one of the following
• Health care;
• Relevant personal care;
• Social care work;
• Assistance in relation to general household matters by reason of age, illness or disability;
• Relevant assistance in the conduct of their own affairs; or
• Conveying (due to age, illness or disability in prescribed circumstances)

What is harm?

This is not defined in legislation. DBS view harm as its common understanding or the definition you may find in a dictionary.

Harm is considered in its widest context and may include:

  • sexual harm
  • physical harm
  • financial harm
  • neglect
  • emotional harm
  • psychological harm
  • verbal harm

This is not a fully comprehensive list, harm can take many different forms.

Barring Representations

Where an individual is the subject of any of the above three barring referral types (excluding ‘Autobar without representation’), the individual will be given the opportunity to provide ‘representations’ as to why they feel it would be inappropriate or disproportionate for DBS to include them on one or both of the Barred Lists.

DBS will consider the individual’s representations before making a final barring decision.

You are not obliged to make representations. If you fail to provide evidence to support your case, the DBS will make their final decision based on information they already hold about you. Inclusion on a DBS barred list will last for your lifetime unless you appeal or seek a review. Making a representation allows you to make your case and give your interpretation of the circumstances that led to the referral.

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