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Digital Nomad

Standard vs Enhanced DBS checks – What is the difference?

Updated: May 30

One of the most common questions we get asked when discussing an organisation's background check requirements is, “What’s the difference between Standard and Enhanced DBS checks?”

It’s important for both organisations and employees to understand the difference between these checks, particularly given that employers need to ensure that their new staff go through the correct level of screening for their role.

As a helpful reference, we’ve broken down the differences between Standard and Enhanced DBS checks, along with discussing which one is suitable for particular professions and industries.

What is a Standard DBS check?

A Standard DBS check is an in-depth criminal record check which can only be requested by organisations on behalf of applicants or volunteers to ensure that they are suitable for the role they are applying for.

This check will show details of spent and unspent convictions, reprimands and cautions held on file. It will also verify that employees or candidates do not have any previous records of wrongdoings such as fraud or financial misconduct.

A Standard DBS check is required for lawyers, accountants, prison workers, and other positions of high responsibility, specifically any role that is listed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

What is an Enhanced DBS check?

An Enhanced DBS check provides the same level of detail as a Standard check, but with some important differences. Information held by local police forces will also be shown, for example, if a person has received a fine or penalty.

With an Enhanced check, an organisation can also request to see whether an applicant is listed on the Children’s Barred List or Adult First list. To be eligible to request this, the job role the applicant will work in must involve engaging in regular activity with children and/or vulnerable adults.

Individuals who are on these lists have either been convicted for offences involving children or vulnerable adults, or they have caused harm or shown a risk of harm to children or vulnerable adults at a previous job, or during a volunteering role.

Similar to a Standard DBS check, only organisations can request this on behalf of employees or volunteers. Most roles in education and healthcare will require an Enhanced DBS check, but other professions, such as roles in leisure and transport may require this level too. Roles which are listed in both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975) and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations typically require an Enhanced DBS check.


Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. VettingGateway will soon be launching Standard and Enhanced DBS checks, meaning you will be able to manage these checks through our easy to use platform. To be the first to know about when we launch these, please click here.


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