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Herts County Council logoDisclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

Disclosure & Barring Service Update – Clarification on Single Certificate

The Safe Staffing Team no longer receives the DBS results certificate directly from the DBS.  Instead, only the applicant receives a copy.

You will be notified if there is going to be any information disclosed on the certificate. If this is the case please ensure you follow ALL the steps below:

  1. Ask the applicant to bring their original DBS certificate in to be checked for any information. If clear, record as such but there is NO requirement to keep a copy.
  2. If the DBS certificate contains any information, take a copy, sign and date it and contact the Safe Staffing Team to discuss the need or otherwise to carry out a Risk Assessment
  3. If no Risk Assessment required (risk is low) ensure an email to that effect is sent from the Head confirming this decision and return a copy of the DBS certificate to the Safe Staffing Team
  4. 4) If a Risk Assessment is required please complete the appropriate form ensuring the applicant and the Head have signed.
  5. Return a copy of the DBS certificate and Risk Assessment to the Safe Staffing Team for review and await outcome

The DBS or Disclosure and Barring Service is provided by the Home Office. The Safe Staffing department of Hertfordshire County Council is an Umbrella body, licenced to process Criminal Record applications on behalf of the Home Office.

A DBS check enables an employer to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work.

We use an on-line system “Herts Guard”, to process these applications. This system is provided by a third party provider at an annual cost. The admin fee we charge covers the processing costs involved, including staff and system costs. All other costs associated with the DBS are paid directly to the DBS.

The Safe Staffing Team can also provide additional support for any DBS related queries, concerns and guidance when a DBS certificate contains information.

Enhanced DBS – These are processed through our on-line system for relevant roles. Only individuals who work in Regulated Activity are eligible. It shows details of spent and unspent convictions and all relevant information held in police records. It also clearly indicates whether the Applicant is on the DBS Children’s list or Vulnerable Adults list (if checked) and therefore is barred from working with those groups.

Example of eligible roles:

  • Teachers
  • Childcare workers
  • Child Carers

National Changes to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks

On 17th June 2013 the Government launched two key changes to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS – formerly the CRB).

The introduction of the Update Service will allow applicants to have their DBS certificate kept up-to-date and take it with them from role to role, as long as the same type (children’s and/or adults) and level applies. Applicants can register when they apply for their next DBS certificate, for an annual subscription of £13 (free for volunteers).

If an applicant has registered and has given permission, employers can use the free Update Service to check online, rather than carrying out a full DBS check.

The second change is that the DBS no longer sends employers a copy of the individual’s certificate. Employers will need to ask the applicant to show them their DBS certificate. This is part of the Government’s aim to give people greater control of their own data.

Please contact the Safe Staffing Team for more information.


Useful Links

The Disclosure and Barring Service has now launched, replacing the services offered by the Criminal Records Bureau and Independent Safeguarding Authority. Its website can be viewed at:

The ISA and CRB websites have now been archived on the National Archives website.