What is a DBS check?

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a check to see if you have a criminal record. It used to be known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.

Why do I need a DBS check?

Sometimes Which? Trusted Traders works in partnership with other organisations, such as Local Authority Trading Standards, so we require traders based in certain counties to complete a DBS check.

The aim of a DBS check is to provide extra reassurance to consumers when you are going into their homes.

Who needs to do a DBS check?

We will let you know if we require a DBS check from you.

If we do require a DBS check, it is the head of the business (what is known as the “controlling mind”) who will need to take the DBS check. This would normally be the owner of the business or the Managing Director.

We ask that you, as owner or Managing Director, self-certify that your employees and/or sub-contractors do not have any unspent criminal convictions, to the best of your knowledge. 

At times, as part of a random survey, Which? Trusted Traders may request additional DBS checks of employees or sub-contractors. We would cover the costs for these additional checks.

What type of check do I need?

If you live or work in England or Wales you need a Basic Check Certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This check will cost £25. You must be 16 or over to apply for your own certificate.

If you live or work in Scotland you need a Basic Disclosure Certificate from Disclosure Scotland and you will need to be over 18 to apply. If you live or work in Northern Ireland you should apply to AccessNI.

There are two other levels of checks available, an enhanced check and an enhanced check with barred lists. But you cannot apply for these levels of check for yourself and the Which? Trusted Traders scheme only requires the basic check. The Direct Gov website has more information.

How do I apply for a DBS check?

You need to apply for your own Basic Check Certificate. It is not possible to apply for certificates on behalf of other people. 

You can apply online, through the Disclosure and Barring Service in England and Wales, Disclosure Scotland in Scotland or AccessNI in Northern Ireland. You can also apply through a registered responsible organisation. You can find a list of registered organisations on the government website.

Your certificate will be sent to your home address by post - it is not possible to get an online certificate. This should take around 14 days. Each application costs £25.

To get set up on the government online service you will need to provide:

  • proof of identity - such as your passport, driving licence or birth certificate
  • your national insurance number
  • information from a utility bill (gas, electricity or telephone) at your home address

To apply for your DBS check, you will need:

  • your address details covering the last five years and the dates you lived there
  • three forms of identification confirming your name, date of birth and current address e.g. driving licence, passport, utility bill, rental agreement/mortgage or bank statement.

What if I have other types of DBS Certificate?

If the Certificate is less than 12 months old and you can demonstrate that you obtained it through the appropriate process, then we are likely to accept it. You will need to discuss the specifics with your account manager.

Will my employees need DBS checks too?

No. At times, however, as part of a random survey, Which? Trusted Traders may request additional DBS checks of employees or sub-contractors, the costs of which would be covered by Which? Trusted Traders.

How should I submit my DBS check to Which? Trusted Traders?

You will be able to submit certificates via a secure web service called Sharefile. We will send you a link to upload the certificate and Sharefile will automatically delete the certificate after 14 days.

Alternatively, you will be able to submit certificates by post, which we will return to you once checked.

Will I need to renew my Basic Disclosure Certificates?

Yes. If we require a Basic Disclosure Certificate from you, we will need to see an up-to-date version at your endorsement renewal, every 12 months.

If you think that the information in your Disclosure Certificate is no longer correct, for example because of a recent conviction, you should notify us.

How do you store the information from a Basic Disclosure Certificate?

The certificates contain sensitive personal information. We will return original certificates to you and destroy any copies once we have checked the contents and made a decision on your membership.

We will follow the principles set out on the DBS website concerning the storage and handling of this information.

More on this...