CRB Checks (Criminal Record Checks)

What is a Criminal Record

A criminal record is a list of offences for which an individual has been convicted in the past. Police Cautions will also show on a person’s criminal record.

What is the CRB?

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997. It was launched in March 2002 and is an Executive Agency of the Home Office. The CRB provides access to the criminal records of individuals through its disclosure service. In England and Wales it is the CRB which is based in Liverpool that deals with criminal record disclosures. In the rest of the country it is the ‘Disclosure service’ and Access NI who provide disclosures in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.

Who will need to have a criminal record check?

People apply for the following will need to obtain a Disclosure:

  • Posts which are covered by specific legislation, such as the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and the Protection of Children Act 1999, which make it compulsory for some checks to be carried out or strongly recommends checks. These posts are listed in the Exemption Order of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. These include posts that involve unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults
  • programmes of study leading to qualification in professions that would be covered by specific legislation, such as the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and the protection of Children Act 1999, which make it compulsory for checks to be carried out. These programmes are linked to professions listed in the Exemption Order of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. These programmes will involve unsupervised access to children or vulnerable adults as part of the provision and assessment of the course or an associated professional qualification
  • People who through work come into contact with children or vulnerable adults
  • Anyone who needs a permanent pass to the restricted zone of an airport will be required to produce a basic disclosure certificate.
  • Volunteers who work with children and vulnerable adults will be required to produce a disclosure certificate. Only voluntary organisations that work with children or vulnerable adults can request Disclosures. Other categories of voluntary organisations are prevented from obtaining this information by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

This is list is not exhaustive and you should check with the relevant organisation whether a CRB check is required.

What information does a Disclosure contain?

The two types of Disclosure vary in the levels of detail.

Standard Disclosure

Standard Disclosures show current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings held on the Police National Computer. It will also include any information held on government lists about people considered unsuitable to work with children. The DoH and DfES hold such lists.

If the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults and meets the criteria established by the relevant department, the following may also be searched:

  • Protection of Children Act (PoCA) List
  • Protection of Vulnerable Adults (PoVA) List
  • Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002

Enhanced Disclosure

This provides the highest level of check available. It is primarily used for individuals who are caring for, supervising, or in sole control of children or vulnerable adults. The Enhanced Disclosure is also sometimes used for certain licensing purposes and for judicial appointments. It contains the same information as the Standard Disclosure but it also has any relevant information held by local police forces.

It is for the Chief Constable of the police force concerned to decide what information is disclosed. The Chief Constables can decide that some of the information is relevant to the position but he does not wish the prospective employee to see this information. When this is the case this information may be sent separately to the person who countersigned the application.

The information contained in both the Standard and Enhanced Disclosure may be sensitive and personal. The CRB recognises this and has published a Code of Practice and an employers’ guide for recipients of Disclosures with the aim of making sure they are handled appropriately.

How can I obtain a Disclosure?

Organisations who wish to use the disclosure service can do so by asking a successful job applicant to apply for a check. There are two types of checks, Standard and Enhanced, both of which require payment of a fee (They are provided free of charge to Voluntary Organisations). The type of check required will depend upon the nature of the position applied for.

What if the information on my Disclosure is wrong?

A disputes process exists at the CRB and it enable a person to challenge any inaccuracies contained on his or her disclosure. You can alternatively write to the Chief Constable of the police force concerned and request inaccurate information is removed.

For how long is a Disclosure valid?

The disclosure contains information that is only valid on the day of issue. A conviction or other matter could be recorded against the applicant anytime after the certificate has been issued and therefore a Disclosure have no specified period of validity. Although the basic disclosure does not have a period of validity clearly it would be meaningless if obtained too far in advance of pass issue so therefore it is recommended that it be obtained as close as possible to the date on which it will be required.

How much does a Disclosure cost?

If the applicant is applying for a disclosure to cover Voluntary work the disclosure, standard or enhanced is free. Otherwise the fees which apply from 6 April 2006 are as follows:

  • Standard Disclosure £31.00
  • Enhanced Disclosure £36.00

How long will a Disclosure take to obtain?

The CRB aim to complete:

  • 90% of Enhanced Disclosures within 4 weeks of an application being received
  • 90% of Standard Disclosures within 10 days of an application being received