Common Questions

What is a Disclosure?

A Disclosure is a document containing information held by police and government departments. It can be used by employers and voluntary organisations to make safer recruitment decisions.

The Disclosure service offers organisations a means to check the background of applicants to ensure that they do not have a history that would make them unsuitable for posts they are trying to fill. Disclosures will provide details of a person's criminal record including convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC). Depending on the position, Disclosures may also include whether a person has been barred from working children and / or adults.

What sort of Disclosure do I need?

This will be determined by your recruiting organisation and will either be an Enhanced or Standard Disclosure. An Enhanced Disclosure includes an additional check against local police records.

How do I apply for a Disclosure?

To apply for a Disclosure you should contact your recruiting organisation who will make arrangements for you to complete your application.

What information will I be required to include on my Disclosure form?

In completing the form you are required to include:

You will also be required to provide personal identification documents such as your passport and/or driving licence.

This information is required so that your identity and current address can be verified. You should note that in providing this service, the DBS and your recruiting organisation are committed to compliance with the Data Protection Act. This means that any personal information submitted will be protected. For more information about data protection, please see the menu option above.

What happens when I have completed my Online Disclosure application form?

Once your application is complete, it’s submitted to the DBS electronically via a secure Home Office portal.

Who will receive my disclosure?

You will receive your Disclosure certificate in the post from the DBS. It will be sent to your current address as stated on your application. Your recruiting organisation will not receive a copy of your certificate but they are required to see yours. Once received, you must show your employer your original certificate to enable them to make a recruitment decision. Your recruiting organisation may make a copy of your certificate to keep for their records but it will be stored in accordance with the DBS Code of Practice and only seen by relevant staff.

Can I challenge the information on my Disclosure if it is incorrect?

Yes. If you believe the personal information on your Disclosure is incorrect, please contact the DBS on 03000 200 190. Alternatively, you can complete Section A of the 'Certificate Dispute Form' (AF15(a)). If you wish to challenge information relating to criminal records or other information disclosed, the dispute must be made in writing and Section B of the 'Certificate Dispute Form' (AF15(a)) must be completed. The form can be found by searching on the DBS website via You should also advise your recruiting organisation if you are disputing the information on your certificate so they are aware of additional delays in seeing your certificate.

How long will my Disclosure be valid?

DBS certificates have no validity period as they only contain information that was current on the date it was printed. Therefore, the older the certificate, the less accurate it is likely to be.

Applicants can choose to subscribe to the DBS Update Service for £13.00 per year. This allows applicants to take their Disclosure result from role to role within the same workforce, without having to carry out a new check every time. Applicants will give permission to their employer who can carry out a free, instant check which will confirm if the applicant's certificate is current and up-to-date.

If I have a criminal record will I be appointed?

Your recruiting organisation aims, as part of its approach to value diversity, promote equality of opportunity for all and has an open-minded recruitment policy in relation to employing people with past convictions. At the same time, vulnerable client groups must be protected and a safe working environment provided for all employees. Having a criminal record will not necessarily stop you from being appointed to a position. However, any information contained on your Disclosure certificate would require further consideration by your recruiting organisation before a recruitment decision could be made. All such cases are fully and fairly considered before a final decision is reached and your recruiting organisation would normally provide you with the opportunity to discuss, in person, the circumstances of the information revealed. For further information regarding how such cases are considered, please contact your recruiting organisation using the information provided in the Contact Us section, found at the top of the page.

Further Information

If you need any further information please visit DBS website:

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