Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

Post Office processes around 200,000 DBS checks in branch each year for a range of organisations and we’ve put some tips together to help explain the process.

teacher in classrom

DBS Checks Explained


When starting a new job, sometimes you might be required to provide more than personal and bank details to begin your new role. Your new employer might also ask you to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. DBS checks are an important requirement for several job roles and allow you to work in your chosen field – from teaching, social work and childminding, through to veterinary nursing, solicitors and accounting. It’s a background check, to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and can – with the Enhanced check - prevent unsuitable people working with vulnerable groups (such as children). 

Post Office processes around 200,000 DBS checks in branch each year for a range of organisations and we’ve put some tips together to help explain the process and share all the details you need to get started.

What is a DBS check and what does a DBS check show?

There are three main types of DBS checks (previously known as CRB checks) – your employer should advise you on which one is required:

  • Basic: This is the lowest level of search, which checks for any unspent convictions. An employer can request this for any type of job, but it is usually required for roles dealing with the public – such as delivery drivers and charity workers. You can apply for this yourself, through Post Office on GOV.UK Verify.  

  • Standard: This reveals a higher level of detail than the Basic check – such as spent and unspent convictions, reprimands, cautions, and final warnings. It’s expected for roles that involve working with children or vulnerable adults – such as social workers or childminders. From this level of check upwards, you’ll need to submit more documents to prove your identity.

  • Enhanced: This covers everything within the Standard check, as well as any additional information held by police that would be relevant including searching barred lists (i.e. people who’ve been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults). Teachers, doctors and other people with high levels of responsibility in unsupervised conditions with children or vulnerable adults would usually expect this level of check.


How to get a DBS check

When it comes to applying for a Standard or Enhanced DBS check, your employer or the organisation you are engaging with will inform you who their preferred supplier is to complete the process with. You’ll begin the journey online and then you might need to provide original documents such as a Passport, driving license and recent bank statement, which you can bring to a Post Office along with copies and your application form. Document checking services are available in around 3,700 Post Offices across the UK.  

What’s the Post Office role in the process?

We’ll confirm that your documents are authentic and that they belong to you. If your documents include photographic evidence (e.g. a passport or driving license), we’ll even be able to confirm your identity. You then send your completed application form and certified copies back to DBS, your employer or partner organisation – and you’re ready to go.

How long does a DBS check take?

Basic DBS checks usually take up to 14 days. For Standard and Enhanced, you should normally receive a copy within four weeks, but this can vary depending on busier times – for instance an increase in seasonal workers across summer.

How long does a DBS check last?

DBS checks have no official expiry date, but it’s up to your employer to decide when a new check is required.

For more information regarding DBS checks and how to complete the process through Post Office please visit: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/dbs-checks