Criminal Conviction Certificate (often known as a ‘Basic DBS disclosure’ or ‘Basic DBS check’)
It is commonly used for employment positions covered by the ROA. It’s also used in other situations (e.g. insurance claims) where you might need to provide proof of your unspent convictions.
What it contains
Essentially, it contains unspent convictions. For guidance on whether your conviction is unspent, click here.
For checks carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service the certificate will include all unspent convictions recorded on the Police National Computer, the Scottish Criminal History System and the Criminal Record Viewer (Northern Ireland Conviction System). For Access NI it is the Police National Computer and the Criminal Record Viewer.
For each conviction it includes the date of conviction, the court, the offence committed, the date of offence and the sentence/disposal.
Note – The details surrounding the sentence/disposal can sometimes come as a surprise, as many people don’t realise exactly what formed part of the ‘sentence’ that they received, such as certain disqualifications, fines or prohibitions.
There is more detail about how certain sentences, disposals and other penalties are treated on basic DBS disclosures further down this page.
How to apply
There are two ways of applying for a basic DBS check:
You can apply for a basic check by going directly to the DBS via their online self-service channel.
- It costs £25.
- Your identity will be verified either by GOV.UK Verify or by the Post Office.
- You provide all the information online.
- It does not have the option to give a 3rd party consent to view the check.
- It does not provide eResults to any intermediary or employer (as you have applied directly).
- You can choose to have your paper certificate sent to a 3rd party.
You can apply for a basic check through an organisation that is registered with the DBS. Referred to by the DBS as a “Responsible Organisation (RO), an employer or other intermediary could be registered with the DBS. These are allowed to submit applications for basic checks via a DBS web service. The DBS has guidance on the organisation that can be used.
- The cost will vary – it will cost £25 plus whatever extra cost is charged by the intermediary. This might be covered by the employer.
- An employer will need to be registered with the DBS themselves, or use an intermediary that is registered, to get a basic DBS check through this route.
- There is a list of these organisations, and the DBS call centre can advise of the latest ones.
- Only one paper check is issued – if the applicant consents, the paper check can be sent to an alternative address, such as the employer’s address.
- There will be an eResult sent to the registered organisation.
- The check will be available online – known as an eCertificate.
- The registered organisation will:
- Be responsible for collecting the information about you and verifying your identity.
- Be able to check the status online.
- Be able to request an electronic (eResult)
Who can apply for it
You (or somebody on your behalf, with your consent)
Legally it is the individual who applies, although third parties do submit applications on behalf of individuals. Sometimes, employers will ask applicants to put the employer’s address as a ‘care of’ address so that it’s sent straight to whoever is undertaking pre-employment checks and the Disclosure and Barring Service will facilitate this.
£25 (Disclosure and Barring Service) £26 (Access NI)
The cost is sometimes covered by the organisation requiring it.
Where it is sent
To you, although you can choose for it to be sent to an employer as part of the application process, though in this situation you won’t receive a copy.
If you’re applying for a job at a new company and it involves a basic DBS disclosure, you might want to be aware that a high proportion of basic applications that employers apply for go via the ‘bulk electronic’ process which is likely to mean that although the disclosure will be addressed to you, it will be sent to the employer’s address. This may result in the employer opening it, particularly if you have given your consent for them to do this. Other employers might simply request that you apply for the disclosure, but put their address down as the ‘care of’ address. This makes it even more important that you make sure that you find out about your criminal record before applying for specific roles.
How long it takes
Within 14 calendar days
How certain disposals are treated
This section provides some details on how certain disposals are treated on basic DBS disclosures. This section should be read alongside our detailed guide on working out whether convictions are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
Currently, the Disclosure and Barring Service will only consider a compensation order as ‘spent’ (i.e. paid in full) if you can provide proof of full payment.
This is something that we are challenging at the moment, as we don’t believe that this system is workable. It’s not particularly clear when you apply for a basic DBS disclosure that you have to provide this proof, and many people don’t even realise they have a compensation order. If you end up receiving your disclosure without providing proof, you have to get another application, alongside your proof of payment, to have an accurate one issued.
However, while this situation remains as it is, you’ll need to provide proof. In England & Wales, you can obtain a letter of confirmation from the court when any compensation order has been paid in full. There is guidance in the magistrates’ courts’ staff manual as to the wording to be used in a proof of payment letter relating to compensation orders. If you didn’t get this at the time of paying the compensation, you should be able to get something from the court at a later stage.
A copy of that letter should be provided to the Disclosure and Barring Service either with your application or separately in confidence if your application is being submitted via a third party.
To submit proof of payment independently of submitting an application, you can send it:
- By email to email@example.com
- By post to DBS Customer Services, PO Box 165, Liverpool L69 3JD
You should quote your application barcode or reference number, or your name, current address, and date of birth in your communication.
Once you’ve submitted proof once, the Disclosure and Barring Service should keep this on file in case you have to apply for a further disclosure in the future.
However, their operational practice appears to be as follows:
- If the compensation order was for less than £100, they’ll process the check without the need for proof of payment
- If the application goes via an employer or other third party, and it is being returned to them, they will contact the individual first to ask if there is any proof of payment of the compensation order.
Disqualification from working with children
Orders for disqualification from working with children under section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 are not treated as ‘sentences’ as such, and so do not impact on whether the conviction appears on the basic DBS disclosure. It’s the ‘sentence’ that is used. So if you received a 3 year prison sentence, and an indefinite/lifetime disqualification, it would be the 3 year sentence that would be used to work out how long the conviction appeared on the basic DBS disclosure.
Sexual offences notification requirement
If the conviction remains unspent, the Disclosure and Barring Service are currently disclosing the fact that somebody is subject to the notification requirements. The length of time subject to these should not be taken into account when deciding whether the conviction is spent, but if it is unspent, it might be disclosed. This is something that we are challenging.
How to correct inaccurate information
For the Disclosure and Barring Service, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Disclosure and Barring Service, PO Box 165, Liverpool L69 3JD
For Access NI, you should write to the Department of Justice, Block B, Castle Building, Stormont Estate, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT4 3SG
You have 90 days from the date of issue of a certificate to raise a dispute