DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

As an employer, you’ve got to carry out an important part of the DBS checking process: assessing whether an applicant’s ID documents are genuine and acceptable, and using them to confirm their identity.

We’ve already created guidance for which combinations of documents you’ll need to see, which we’ll link below:

But what do you need to do now you’ve got the documents in front of you? Here’s our guide to the DBS evidence checking process.

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: Completing The Application

If you’re assigned to do DBS evidence checking at your organisation, it’s your responsibility to assist the applicant with filling out the forms correctly, and ensuring they have provided all the information requested.

At Aaron’s Department, our online application form is error-proof. We can root out typos, dodgy addresses, eligibility issues with ease – but we can’t correct things that aren’t included in the first place! The most common reason we see applications rejected is due to undisclosed previous names and addresses.

So if you’re an evidence checker, make triple-sure all the requested information is present. The last thing you want is a mistake on the application, as this will cause it to be rejected without refund by the DBS.

Depending on the Umbrella Body the check is being done with, they’ll usually also be able to offer advice to you or your applicant if necessary.

DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: The Right Documents

By the time your applicant has filled out the form, you may have already seen some of their ID documents. However, to proceed with the application, your applicant must provide you with a specific combination of ID documents, depending on which ones are available. These must be original, physical documents – not copies.

Which documents the applicant needs to show depends on the “Route” being taken, but a common example of the documents required for a DBS check would be:

  • Passport (secure photo ID)
  • Bank Statement (proof of address)
  • Utility Bill (proof of address)

Not everyone will be able to provide these, however, so we’ve done a separate guide to the DBS evidence checking routes, linked below:

The vast majority of applicants will be able to present some combination of documents allowing them to get a DBS check. If they cannot, they will have to visit a police station to have their fingerprints taken.

DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: Inspecting The Documents

Once you’ve been presented with the applicant’s documents, you’ll have to do a thorough check to make sure everything lines up with the information contained on the applicant’s form.

You may have seen the applicant’s ID documents already, but the DBS evidence checking needs to take place after the applicant has filled out the form. This way, you can check for discrepancies between the documents and the completed application.

The following list is a quick breakdown of dos and don’ts from the government’s website:

  • You may only accept valid, current, original documentation.
  • You may not accept photocopies, digital documents, or printed versions of digital documents (such as bank statements).
    • It is possible to accept photocopies of documents that have been verified by the Post Office, if your applicant doesn’t feel comfortable posting their originals, or travelling to deliver them. Click here for more info.
  • You can use Digital ID Verification to verify your applicants documents. This saves them having to post anything – it is all done online!
  • You must cross-reference the applicant’s personal details on their documents with the information on their application form. Discrepancies are usually mistakes, but be aware that they could be an attempt at deception.
  • You should compare the applicant’s photographic ID with their likeness – this can be done in-person or over a video call.
  • Applicants must have documentation to support any name changes. If the applicant cannot present any evidence, you must hold “a probing discussion” into why they have no evidence, and the reason for the change of name. Once the discussion has been held, you have no further responsibilities. Your DBS provider may ask you to send them a summary of the discussion.
  • You should cross-reference the applicant’s documents and address history with other information you have been provided during the recruitment process. For example, if your applicant said in their CV they recently had a job in Bristol, but their 5-year address history is all within Yorkshire, you may wish to question the applicant further about this.
  • If a document is listed as “UK” on the list of acceptable documents, you may not accept any foreign equivalents – it has to have been issued by the UK.
DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: Suspect Documents

The gov.uk website has some excellent guidelines for ensuring you aren’t being shown dodgy documents.

Their “DBS Evidence Checking Guidelines for Standard/Enhanced DBS Check Applications“, on which this article is based, includes a number of basic ID checking methods, which begin at the “Checking Driving Licences” section in the contents column.

For advice on identifying frauds and forgeries, “Guidance on examining identity documents” offers lots of ways to tell if you’ve been handed a fake. It’s worth a read if anything about your applicant’s documents arouse suspicion, and if not, it’s still an interesting read.

If you believe you’ve been presented with fraudulent documents, do not proceed with the application. You can report this to Action Fraud online.

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: What Happens Next?

This will be slightly different depending on your DBS provider, but essentially, your provider will make you confirm that the documents have been checked before allowing you to continue/pay for the DBS application.

Once that’s been done, the application will be sent to your provider for countersigning, and then be sent onwards to the DBS themselves for the check to be carried out.

DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

DBS Evidence Checking Guide: Summary

When DBS evidence checking, you must:

  • Ensure that the applicant has the correct documents.
  • Ensure that they are all current, valid, and legitimate.
  • Cross-reference the completed application with your applicant’s documents.

As long as you understand those fundamentals, you can look up the rest in our guide (or the governments’) as you go along if you get stuck.

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Further Reading

If you’ve found our post, “DBS Evidence Checking Guidance” useful, these might also be of interest to you:

About The Author

DBS Evidence Checking Guidance

John Schofield-Antoncich

John has processed more applications than days he has been alive, and has become the DBS expert. Got a question? He knows the answer!

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