What is a CRB Check UK? Quick 5-min Answers

What is a CRB Check UK?

A CRB Check is the outdated name for the check that came before the DBS Check. Read on to find out more.

If you’ve been struggling to find someone to apply for a CRB check with, you’re not alone. In 2012, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was introduced to specialise in background checks, taking over from the Criminal Records Bureau. This means that, rather than searching for a CRB check, it’s a DBS check you are looking for.

People often use the outdated name though, as it’s what we remember! And, frankly, ‘Criminal Records Bureau’ is a much more intuitive name for a service that provides criminal background checks than ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’.

If you search for a CRB check, it tends to return the UK .gov website for DBS checks with no reference to CRBs, which can also be confusing.

Is There Any Difference Between a CRB Check UK And a DBS Check?

In short, no! These checks are functionally identical, except that the modern DBS check generally doesn’t take as long to be returned. The UK DBS check is, in a small way, an improvement compared to the old CRB check UK.

Neither of these checks have an expiry date as such, so an old CRB check is still technically a valid document. But if somebody’s last check was a CRB, it’s highly recommended to get an updated DBS check, as a lot can change in 10 years. For a more detailed breakdown of the new DBS checks versus the CRB check UK, we’ve got another blog discussing the differences between them here. The Differences Between CRB & DBS

The graph below shows the difference between CRB Checks and DBS Checks

crb check uk differences table

How Can I Get a CRB Check UK (DBS Check) Done?

You need to meet certain criteria to get a CRB check. You can’t request anything other than a basic DBS check for yourself, and there are two other tiers, Standard and Enhanced, which can only be applied for by an employer for an employee. If you need a CRB check / DBS check for work, this should be requested by your employer.

How long does a CRB check take?

As far as an employer is concerned, a CRB check’s main function is to provide customers with peace of mind, so they should prioritise booking your DBS check and getting you into work as quickly as they can. CRB checks UK (DBS Checks) can be completed as quickly as a matter of hours when the stars align, but it’s more common for them to take a few days, and rarely more than a week.

Sometimes, however, CRB checks can take much longer than this – this is almost always because the local police forces involved in the check are having some difficulty with the application, or are experiencing a backlog. The usual delay suspects are applicants who have had lots of previous places of residence, and applicants with common names. The former requires a greater number of local police forces to each complete their own checks, while the latter means the police have to check the records more closely than usual to make sure their records match the applicant.

Other causes include a shortage of police staff, or even events like riots can have an influence on the speed of DBS checks, as it means more officers have to be away from their desks. Check out our article on why CRB checks get delayed here for more information on delays.

Where Can I Get a CRB Check UK Done?

As it happens, you’re in the right place! At Aaron’s Department, employers can request Basic, Standard, and Enhanced CRB checks for their staff. If you know what you need, you can sign up below. If not, we offer guides on a wide range of roles on the ‘What DBS Check Do You Need?‘ page.

How much is a CRB check UK?

The different tiers of check range from £18 to £38 for the base application fee, and at Aaron’s Department our admin fee range from £5.45 to £10.95, depending on the level of the check. To make things even better, we also offer a free credit service, which provides a discount and is useful for employers who require a large number of checks. For our complete pricing table, click here.

What is a CRB Check UK – A Summary

At the heart of it, a CRB check UK is functionally the same as the modern DBS check which replaced it. It’s still a legally valid document, but by now it’s so old you’ll almost certainly need a new DBS check performing.

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