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Changes to basic DBS check application procedure in England and Wales

The government has announced changes to the way in which individuals in England and Wales can apply for a basic criminal records check.

Since 10 March 2014, individuals have been entitled to apply for a basic disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) under section 112 of the Police Act 1997. However, in practice, all applications for basic disclosure from applicants in England, Wales and Scotland had to be submitted to Disclosure Scotland. A basic certificate contains details of convictions and conditional cautions that are considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

From January 2018, applicants in England and Wales should apply directly to the DBS for a basic certificate. Disclosure Scotland has announced that it will no longer be dealing with requests from such applicants from 17 January 2018.

It is understood that the DBS will be making available a new online application form for a basic disclosure certificate, and it has recruited additional staff to deal with the increased demand for checks. Alternatively, employers can use the services of a Responsible Organisation to apply for basic checks on its behalf.

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