Why did the CRB Change to the DBS?

You have probably heard the term ‘CRB check’ thrown around at one point in your life. These days, those ‘CRB checks’ are now called ‘DBS checks’, and are conducted by a completely different organisation. What changed, and why?


History of the CRB

The CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) was a ground-breaking service which provided detailed reports of a person’s criminal record history. This service was introduced in 2002 by the Home Office, as a way to protect vulnerable groups of people, by screening anybody they may potentially come into contact with during their employment or education.

The CRB service was particularly innovative for employers who wanted to find out more information about new employees, while simultaneously reassuring their staff about how seriously they took their wellbeing. These CRB checks were eventually launched online, and nowadays what we now call a DBS check forms a vital part of the recruitment process for many companies.

The CRB had been due to partner with the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) in administering the Vetting and Barring Scheme from 2009. A review in 2011 had recommended that the two bodies merge into one non-departmental public body.


Changes for Barred List Checks

The CRB initially worked alongside the ISA, the latter of which centred around the barring of what now makes up the DBS check. The two independent services merged in 2012 as a way of streamlining the process of applications and barred list checks.

The DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) took control of all barred lists from the ISA, meaning that process now took place as part of the Enhanced DBS check, if a person is eligible.

Additionally, the DBS is now responsible for completing criminal record checks. The DBS can complete a criminal background check as well as a barring check against children or vulnerable adults barred list, if necessary.


Can I Apply for a CRB Check?

As far as the now-defunct CRB goes, you cannot apply for a CRB check online anymore. You may occasionally hear the term ‘CRB check’ thrown around these days, and some people may still have a CRB certificate to their name. Given that there is no official expiry date to these certificates, there might be no need to apply for a DBS check online for some people.

Here is some important information to remember:

  • Some people still refer to DBS checks as CRB checks, but the latter checks cannot be completed online anymore.
  • If you are eligible for any type of criminal record check, you will need to start by applying for a DBS check. The Basic DBS check is the check with the lowest level of disclosure.
  • There is a good chance a CRB certificate will still be valid, as there is no expiry date. There is no predetermined expiration date because the individual could have a conviction or reprimand against them at any time after the date the CRB check was completed. It is worth checking with employers on how regularly checks are conducted, as they hold the jurisdiction on whether to request a new check on an employee. In addition, the regularity of checks will also be down to respective industry guidelines. The guidelines will differ between that of schools or university students to those working as nannies and the care sector.
  • There is also a chance that original CRB certificates can’t be accessed by employers. This could be due to legislation changes, particularly if the individual is eligible for a higher level check (like a Standard DBS check). Employers should seek advice on any issues or concerns on this matter.

Much like CRB checks, the requirements for DBS disclosure and different levels vary across industries and organisations, and depend on the sector and individual job role of the employee.

In summary, when it comes to conducting criminal record checks, the DBS does exactly what the CRB used to do, with the DBS now conducting barred list checks as well. The CRB merged with the ISA to form what we now know the DBS to be, and it’s also helpful that the application process is much simpler these days. 


DBS Check Online

Employers from a wide range of business across the UK will need prospective (and potentially existing) employees, or volunteers to undertake DBS online applications. For more information on safeguarding for volunteers, click here.

If an employee is registered with a DBS update service, the employer can check the status of a DBS certificate without having to request that the employee apply for a DBS check from scratch.

For employers, requiring multiple DBS online applications, we offer a Fast Track DBS service. No registration fees are required, nor is there a limit on the maximum amount of checks allowed. This process is completed online, as a method of easing the submission process and ensuring results quickly and efficiently. You can read more about that here.

Online DBS Checks can help with both an online DBS check for individuals as well as provide a full DBS update service for employers. You can apply for DBS checks here or alternatively, get in touch with us here should you have any questions. We want you to feel completely in-the-know about what to do!


Posted in DBS Check