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How to Obtain a Criminal Records Check

When applying for jobs in a country outside of the UK, prospective employers may ask you to provide them with a Criminal Record Check. There are different organisations who are able to provide Criminal Record Checks and they offer different types of back ground searches. It is down to your employer to confirm exactly which level of back ground check they are expecting you to provide.

Criminal Record Checks are typically requested when you apply for a job abroad. Employers will ask you to provide a recent back ground check to ensure you have no adverse history that may prevent you from obtaining a working visa. Teachers looking for work in schools or colleges will have to provide enhanced disclosures before their employment will be confirmed. Most employers will expect the document to be issued within the last 3 or 6 months.

If an employer is requesting a detailed Criminal Record Check then you may need to contact the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS). DBS can provide a more detailed check on your back ground but you will need to obtain this in conjunction with your new employer. The employer would first need to download an application form which they would then pass onto yourself. You would then complete this form and pass it back to the employer with relevant identification documents. DBS will then send you the Criminal Record Check which you will need to send on to the employer. There are 3 different levels of check which can be obtained from DBS and as they will be the ones sending off for this it is down to them as to which version they apply for, these levels are as follows: -

  • Standard (£26.00) – This document shows all spent & unspent convictions, final warnings, reprimands & cautions.
  • Enhanced (£44.00) – This document includes everything in the standard document plus anything the police hold on record which is relevant to the job applied for.
  • Enhanced with List Checks (£44.00) – The Enhanced List Checks document includes everything on the Enhanced check but will also include the 2 Barred Lists to show the lists of individuals who are unsuitable for working with adults or children.

(Prices are correct at time of writing. Please check with DBS for current prices)

It is possible for an employee to obtain a Criminal Record Check themselves. The most common provider is Disclosure Scotland. Please note that you do not need to be from Scotland to use this service. There are 3 types of back ground document which you can order including the Basic, Standard and Enhanced Disclosures. These are effectively the same as DBS Criminal Record checks although the Basic Disclosure only shows information on unspent convictions.

As well as the two main Government Bodies who are able to assist with obtaining Criminal Record Checks there are many umbrella bodies based around the UK. Umbrella bodies are businesses who are registered with either Disclosure Scotland or DBS and are able to obtain Criminal Record Checks on your behalf. In most circumstances people order direct from DBS or Disclosure Scotland but you may wish to use one to the other service providers and pay any additional charges they include. If you choose to use an alternative service provider you find online it may be worth checking with both DBS and Disclosure Scotland’s site to see if they are official registered Umbrella Bodies.

Another option is to contact ACRO or NCPP. They can provide you with a police certificate confirming the details held on record for an individual.

Most criminal record checks need to be legalised before your employer overseas will accept them. At this point you will need an apostille on your document. The apostille will confirm the signature on document is from a recognised public official or solicitor. If the country where the document is being used is not a member of the Hague Convention then you may also need to attest the document with the countries embassy in London.

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