Disclosure Certificates (Criminal Record Checks)

If your business works in or around private residences, during the application process you will be required to show us a recent Basic Disclosure Certificate (sometimes referred to as a DBS check or inaccurately as a CRB/Criminal Records Bureau check). We will need this for all employees or unsupervised subcontractors you work with, who visit people’s homes.

The cost of this is not included in your application fee and you or your employees will need to source these certificates yourself. Please note that having a conviction revealed on a Disclosure Certificate does not automatically bar you or your business from BWC membership, as each case is judged on its own merits.

Things to Consider

The legislation controlling eligibility for the various types of Disclosure Certificates changed on 10 September 2012 following implementation of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Guidance and advice as to the application of the new controls is on the Gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service/about

The status of the bodies who issue disclosure certificates, particularly Standard and Enhanced certificates has been changed, which means that most employers cannot access these types of certificates, and to try to do so may be a criminal offence. Please refer to the website page (links above) on ‘Disclosure and Barring’ for the up-to-date position. This is an outline guide only and you should seek advice from us or refer to the full guidance on the above websites.

What Types of Checks Are There?

There are three types of checks available which produce different Disclosure Certificates.

 What Type of Check Do we Ask for?

Unless you can meet the legal criteria to enable you to obtain an Enhanced or Standard Disclosure Certificate you are only able to obtain a Basic Disclosure Certificate. Each individual will have to apply for their own Basic Disclosure Certificate; this will be sent to their home address.

Persons under 18 cannot apply for a Basic Disclosure Certificate.

Individuals newly arrived in the UK can apply for an equivalent document from their country of origin. We will generally accept such documents but please contact us before applying so that we can ensure the certificate will be acceptable.

Who Needs to Provide a Disclosure Certificate?

  1. All staff who work in or around domestic premises (which includes gardens and land and buildings attached to the property) are required to provide a current Disclosure Certificate. This would not normally include occupations where, in the normal course of events, the work would only constitute a visit to the door of the property. However, see point 3 below.
  2. All staff who have unsupervised access to vulnerable people through their job are required to provide a Basic Disclosure Certificate, and in exceptional circumstances where someone is likely to have extensive access to vulnerable people (and it is legally possible to do so), a Standard or Enhanced Disclosure Certificate may be required.
  3. Disclosure Certificates are not required for the Directing Minds of businesses unless they are going to domestic premises or will have access to vulnerable people (see points 1 and 2 above). However, Directing Minds of the business are required to disclose any unspent convictions on application to the scheme.
  4. At the discretion of the Scheme Operator, if intelligence received or other circumstances warrant such an approach, then exceptional checks may be carried out on an individual or individuals.


Sub-contractors working in circumstances outlined in the ‘Who Needs to Provide a Disclosure Certificate?’ section above, will be required to have a Basic Disclosure, unless they are supervised at all times by the owner and/or an employee of the applicant business, who has had a Basic Disclosure check.  It is important to understand that if any sub-contractor does not have a suitable Disclosure Certificate, they cannot be left on site unsupervised for any reason.

Why Do we Ask for Checks?

We ask for these checks to add reassurance to customers where businesses are carrying out work in or about their homes or are in contact with children or vulnerable adults.

This is a separate requirement to the statutory duty for persons employed to carry out a ‘regulated activity’ to provide an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate. If you are required by law to provide an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate then you must do so. ‘Regulated activity’ is defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

How Do I Get a Basic Disclosure Certificate?

In England and Wales, these are available from the Disclosure & Barring Service. You can find out more information and begin the application process via the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record

In Scotland, these are available from Disclosure Scotland and can be obtained via the mygov.scot website at https://www.mygov.scot/disclosure-types/

You should read the guidance available on the applicable website, making sure that you apply for a Basic Disclosure Certificate.

It is the individual’s responsibility to apply for a Basic Disclosure Certificate and only the person to whom the disclosure relates can make the application (however, they can be reimbursed for this fee by their employer).  You must also pay the required fee (around £25) as stated on website or as requested by any other supplier.

I Already Have Other Types of Disclosure Certificate, Will You Accept These?

If the certificate is under 12 months old we are likely to accept it, however, we will need to be able to verify that you have obtained the certificates through an appropriate process. We will ask you to confirm that the certificate remains correct, in that there have been no convictions following the date it was provided and we will also consider how long ago the certificate was obtained.

If, for example, you are a taxi or private hire car operator and your local licensing authority requires that all drivers have Enhanced Disclosure Certificates, then we will not require you to produce another certificate.

If you are a Registered Body and apply for Disclosure Certificates as part of your recruitment and employment processes or use an Umbrella Organisation to do this on your behalf, we will require you to produce evidence that these processes are robust and meet the requirements of the Disclosure & Barring Service. There is guidance on how employers should handle Disclosure Certificates and related employment issues on the Gov.uk website.

If you have obtained a Disclosure Certificate through voluntary work, for example with the Scouts or Guides, as a school governor or as a magistrate, we will ask to see the certificate.

I Already Have Employees; Can I Require Them to Undergo Checks?

You should discuss this with your staff and look at your contracts of employment. If you intend to compel employees to produce a Basic Disclosure Certificate you should seek the advice of an employment law specialist as to whether and how you can do this.

Basic Disclosure Certificates can only be obtained with the consent of the ‘subject’ – that is the person on whom the check is being made, so you will need the agreement of each individual. There are also laws preventing discrimination against employees/prospective employees who have convictions which the law classes as ‘spent’. These ‘spent’ convictions should not show up on a DBS basic certificate.

You can choose to identify a group of employees within your organisation who will carry out work for which we require a Basic Disclosure Certificate, but you must obtain our agreement for this.

I Already Know That a Basic Disclosure Certificate Will Reveal Previous Convictions. What Will Happen?

If you are applying for membership and you know that either you or one of your employees has previous convictions that are likely to show up on a Basic Disclosure Certificate, you should discuss this with us.

The presence of a conviction on a certificate does not automatically bar a business from the scheme, as we will assess all previous convictions on an individual case-by-case basis.

What Does BWC do with the Disclosure Certificates?

The information contained within the certificates, whether it shows a conviction or not, is sensitive personal information. If we are provided with the actual certificate we will note that we have seen it and return the original. If you provide copies these will be destroyed once we have made a decision based on the contents

There is guidance on the storage and handling of this type of information on the DBS website and we will follow the principles set out.

Will I Need to provide further Basic Disclosure Certificates in coming years?

No, we require certificates to be produced in the following circumstances

When we re-audit your business we will ask that you confirm that to the best of your knowledge the facts contained within the Basic Disclosure Certificates have not changed.

If, as an existing member, you become aware that the information contained in a Disclosure Certificate is no longer correct, perhaps because of a recent conviction, you should notify us.

Rehabilitation Of Offenders

Many criminal offences are subject to rehabilitation; in brief this is a process by which convictions can be disregarded for most purposes following a period of time from the date of conviction.

As a business you must comply with the rehabilitation rules and we will also disregard convictions which are spent, unless there are compelling, legally valid reasons not to do so.

Guidance on rehabilitation of offenders is available on the NACRO website at www.nacro.org.uk.