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Carrying out a DBS check is now a common practice within recruitment and there are a variety of roles that require more than the basic check. Understanding what information may be included in each check is important for those who are applying for roles or supporting others in doing so.

The table below explains what information will be accessed for each type of check and the type of roles that these apply to.

BasicInclude all unspent convictions and can be carried out by any company for any role.
StandardInclude all spent and unspent convictions and can only be carried out by a company when that role meets the eligibility criteria.

Common roles include.
  • Accountant
  • Bank manager
  • Barrister, lawyer or solicitor
  • Security/door staff
  • Locksmith
  • Mortgage advisor
  • Traffic warden
EnhancedInclude all spent and unspent convictions, but may also contain the following.
  • Inclusion on Children's Barring List
  • Inclusion on Adult's Barring List
  • Relevant Police intelligence

They are carried out usually when the role involves regular or close contact with children or vulnerable adults. Common roles include.
  • School bus/coach driver
  • Carer
  • Childminder
  • Dental professionals
  • Driving instructor
  • Lifeguard
  • NHS professionals
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Probation officer
  • School staff
  • Taxi driver
  • Youth worker

It is important to understand the difference between a spent and unspent conviction. This will determine what checks it will appear on and also whether you need to disclose an offence.

Spent convictions

After a period of time, some offences become what is known as spent and will not appear on the basic DBS check. In this case they do not legally need to be disclosed to the potential employer.

However, they will appear on a standard or enhanced DBS check. If the role that is being applied for requires this level of check than you will need to disclose the conviction. That will then be at the discretion of the employer to make a decision on your suitability, taking into account their own policies and guidance.

Unspent convictions

Unspent convictions are those that.

  • Are deemed to be a public protection offence
  • Resulted in a sentence exceeding 4 years
  • Have not had the required time lapse since conviction

Unspent convictions will appear on all levels of DBS checks and you have a legal responsibility to disclose these to an employer when applying for a position. You could be prosecuted if you fail to disclose a conviction when asked.

BasicStandardEnhancedEnhanced + Barring List
Unspent convictionsYesYesYesYes
Spent convictions
Cautions, reprimands & warnings
Police intelligence

Yes - if relevantYes
Adult's Barring

Children's Barring


To disclose a conviction, most people prefer to do so via a written disclosure statement. This is a letter, similar to a cover letter, that outlines the reasons behind the offence and how your risk has been reduced since it occurred.

We can offer further support around if, when or how to disclose a conviction via our tailored package available here. During the 2 sessions we will also write a disclosure statement and discuss questions that may be asked by a potential employer. Alternatively contact us to discuss how we can support you or your organisation.

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