Guidance

Introduction

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.

The person going through a DBS check (the applicant) must give their employer original documents to prove their identity (not copies). The documents needed will depend on the route the application takes. The applicant must try to provide documents from Route 1 first.

From 8 June 2015 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) ceased issuing the paper counterpart to the photo-card driving licence.

A photo-card driving licence issued by the DVLA without the paper counterpart will be classed as a group 1 primary identity document.

There will be no need to view the paper counterpart for driving licences issued before 8th June 2015. These are minimum ID requirements and will not impact how you validate an applicants identity.

You can read the DVLA driving licensing changes news story to find out more

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ID Checking Guidelines for DBS Check Applications

The applicant must provide a range of ID documents as part of the DBS check application process. As an employer you must:

  • follow the three route ID checking process as outlined
  • check and validate the information provided by the applicant on the application form/ continuation sheet
  • establish the true identity of the applicant through the examination of a range of documents as set out in this guidance
  • make sure the applicant provides details of all names by which they have been known
  • make sure the applicant provides details of all addresses where they have lived in the last five years
  • check that the application form is fully completed and the information it contains is accurate. Failing to do this can result in delays

If there are any discrepancies in the information provided by the applicant and/or the identity documents supplied, and fraud is not suspected, please ask the applicant to clarify. If you don’t do this it may compromise the integrity of the DBS service and introduce risk to your recruitment or licensing arrangements.

As an employer you must not attempt to amend the application form without the applicant’s knowledge and agreement. Doing this will invalidate the declaration by the applicant and may breach data protection legislation.

What you must do as part of the ID checking process

  • you must only accept valid, current and original documentation
  • you must not accept photocopies
  • you must not accept documentation printed from the internet e.g. internet bank statements
  • identity information for the applicant’s name, date of birth and address recorded in section A and section B on the DBS application form must be validated
  • you should in the first instance, seek documents with photographic identity (e.g. passport, new style driving licence, etc.) and for this to be compared against the applicant’s likeness
  • all documents must be in the applicant’s current name as recorded in section A
  • one document must confirm the applicant’s date of birth as recorded in section A
  • you must ensure that the applicant declares all previous name changes, and provides documentary proof to support the change of name. If the applicant is unable to provide proof to support the change of name, you should hold a probing discussion with the applicant about the reasons why before considering to validate their identity
  • you must see at least one document to confirm the applicant’s current address as recorded in section B, in accordance with the guidance
  • you must provide a full and continuous address history covering the last five years. Where possible you should seek documentation to confirm this address history
  • you should cross-match the applicant’s address history with any other information you have been provided with as part of the recruitment, such as their Curriculum Vitae (CV). This can highlight if an address has not been given e.g. if the applicant’s CV shows that they have worked in Liverpool in the last five years, but the application form only shows London addresses, you may wish to question the applicant further about this
  • a document from each of the groups should be included only once in the document count e.g. don’t accept two bank statements as two of the required documents, if they are from the same bank
  • you should not accept the foreign equivalent of an identity document if that document is listed as ‘(UK)’ on the list of valid identity documents The documents needed will depend on the route the application takes. The applicant must try to provide documents from Route 1 first.

It’s important to note that a DBS check does not provide evidence of a person’s right to work in the UK. You must do a separate check to make sure a job applicant is allowed to work in the UK which also includes roles for voluntary work.
If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA) they must use a different route to apply for paid work in the UK. They can use Route 1 for voluntary work.

Wherever possible, where you hold a document containing a photograph from the approved identity document list, this should be submitted.

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Route 1

The applicant must be able to show:

  • one document from Group 1, below
  • two further documents from either Group 1, or Group 2a or 2b, below

At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address.

If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK and is applying for voluntary work they may need to be fingerprinted if they can’t show these documents.

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Route 2

Route 2 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Route 1.

If the applicant isn’t a national of the UK and is applying for voluntary work they can’t use Route 2.

If the applicant doesn’t have any of the documents in Group 1, then they must be able to show:

  • one document from Group 2a
  • two further documents from either Group 2a or 2b

At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address. The organisation conducting their ID check must then also use an appropriate external ID validation service to check the application.

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Route 3

Route 3 can only be used if it’s impossible to process the application through Routes 1 or 2.

For Route 3, the applicant must be able to show:

  • a birth certificate issued after the time of birth (UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands)
  • one document from Group 2a and
  • three further documents from Group 2a or 2b

At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address. If the applicant can’t provide these documents they may need to be fingerprinted.

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Unusual Addresses

The applicant must make sure they fill in the address part of the form correctly if they have an unusual address, for example if they live abroad, in student accommodation or a hostel.

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Group 1: Primary Identity Documents

Document Notes
Passport Any current and valid passport
Biometric residence permit UK
Current driving licence photocard – (full or provisional) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands. From 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence will not be valid and will no longer be issued by DVLA
Birth Certificate  – issued within 12 month of birth UK, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands – including those issued by UK authorities overseas, for example embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces
Adoption certificate UK and Channel Islands

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Group 2a: Trusted Government Documents

Document Notes
Current driving licence photocard –  (full or provisional) All countries outside UK (excluding Isle of Man and  Channel Islands)
Current driving licence (full or  provisional) – paper version (if issued   before 1998) UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands
Birth certificate – issued after time of  birth UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
Marriage/Civil Partnership Certificate UK and Channel Islands
Immigration document, visa or work  permit Issued by a country outside the UK. Valid only for roles whereby the applicant is living and working outside of the UK. Visa/permit must relate to the non-UK country in which the role is based
HM Forces ID Card UK
Firearms Licence UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man

All driving licences must be valid

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Group 2b: Financial and Social History Documents

Document Notes Issue Date & Validity
Mortgage statement UK Issued in last 12 months
Bank or building society statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 3 months
Bank or building society statement Countries outside the UK Issued in last 3 months – branch must be in the country where the applicant lives and works
Bank or building society account opening confirmation letter UK Issued in last 3 months
Credit card statement UK Issued in last 3 months
Financial statement, for example pension or endowment UK Issued in last 12 months
P45 or P60 statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Council Tax statement UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 12 months
Letter of sponsorship from future employment provider Non-UK only – valid only for applicants residing outside of the UK at time of application Must still be valid
Utility bill UK – not mobile telephone bill Issued in last 3 months
Benefit statement, for example Child Benefit, Pension UK Issued in last 3 months
Central or local government, government agency, or local council document giving entitlement, for example from the Department for Work and Pensions, the Employment Service, HMRC UK and Channel Islands Issued in last 3 months
EEA National ID card Must still be valid
Irish Passport Card Cannot be used with an Irish passport Must still be valid
Cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo UK, Isle of Man and Channel Islands Must still be valid
Letter from head teacher or college principal UK – for 16 to 19 year olds in full time education – only used in exceptional circumstances if  other documents cannot be provided Must still be valid

ID requirements for applicants who aren’t a national of the UK – please click here

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DBS
Last Reviewed Date
07/12/2023