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DBS Guidance


What are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks?

DBS checks provide details of an individual's criminal record and, for certain roles, information held by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and local police intelligence. They are used to enable organisations to recruit suitable staff and make licensing decisions, and play an essential role in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

Who should be asked to apply for a disclosure?

The DBS check is only a small part of the recruitment process.  You must ensure that you carry out other recruitment checks including reference checks, right to work in the UK and identity checks before completing a disclosure.  The applicant must also accept your conditional offer of employment before a DBS check is requested. As an education establishment you are required to maintain a Single Central Record of recruitment checks.

School employees – All those directly employed by an education establishment in paid positions are required to obtain an enhanced disclosure.  Exceptions to this are those who have been continuously employed (or with a break of not more than three months) within the education sector prior to March 2002.

Volunteers – All volunteers with frequent or intensive contact with children must obtain an enhanced disclosure.  This contact can be as little as one hour a week, four days or more in a month, or overnight such as a one-off residential trip.  Volunteers undertaking any other ‘one-off’ activities with the opportunity for contact, are not eligible for a DBS check, such as helping on sports day. The education establishment must ensure that adequate supervision is in place.

Agency staff – The Agency is responsible for ensuring all recruitment checks have been undertaken and the education establishment must be provided, by the Agency, with a copy of any disclosure certificate that contains information, in advance of the worker being supplied.

Staff of contractors – The Contractor is responsible for carrying out recruitment checks on staff they are placing in education establishments for example, cleaning and catering.  The education establishment needs to obtain confirmation from the contractor that all checks have been satisfactorily completed.  This does not extend to Contractors working outside of the education establishment premises for example builders or performing occasional maintenance i.e. plumbers.

School Governors – Governors are not generally required to have a Disclosure unless they also undertake voluntary duties in School that meet the frequent or intensive definition above.  Academies are required to ensure that all their Governors obtain a DBS Disclosure.  

How long does a DBS check take to process?

Once the online application form is sent off the disclosure typically takes 5 days to be returned by the DBS.


It is an offence to employ, in an education establishment, an individual who is barred from working with children.  A check against the ISA barred list will be requested as part of the DBS check but, to avoid having to wait for the disclosure certificate to be issued, we can undertake a separate, immediate check against the barred list upon receipt of the completed application if requested by the education establishment. If an appropriate barred list check has been undertaken and clearance received, the applicant can then commence employment with adequate supervision if the Head Teacher wants them to start work ahead of the full disclosure certificate being issued.