CRB Checks

Criminal Records Bureau Checks (disclosures) – Who needs a CRB check and which one to apply for?

Usually a job applicant has no legal obligation to reveal spent convictions and it is illegal for an employer to ask whether an applicant has any spent convictions.

However, there are certain areas of employment that are exempt from this rule, under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions 1975) Order, for which employers may ask about spent convictions.

How long is a CRB check valid for?

There is no official expiry date for a CRB check. Any information revealed on a certificate will be held by police at the time the check was issued. You should check the date of issue on the certificate to decide whether to request a new one. In certain employment sectors a CRB check may be required periodically.

You may be required by law to carry out a fresh check of the Independent Safeguarding Authority Childrens’ and/or Adults’ list in accordance with sector-specific guidance.

You can keep a CRB check – or other related information – for no longer than six months, to allow for consideration and resolution of any disputes or complaints after a recruitment or suitability decision is made. If it is considered necessary to keep the certificate information for longer, you should consult the CRB.

There are different  types and  Levels of CRB Disclosures/checks

Basic CRB Check

A Basic Disclosure is a criminal record check (termed as a “criminal conviction certificate” in Part V of the Police Act 1997) is the lowest level of Disclosure and is available to anyone for any purpose, on payment of the appropriate fee.

This disclosure contains details of convictions considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or state that there are no such convictions.  This type of Disclosure is only issued to the applicant.  It is not job-specific or job related and may be used more than once.

Standard CRB Check

This is a criminal record check certificate as defined under Section 113(3) of the Police Act 1997. This criminal background check certificate contains details of all convictions on record, plus details of any cautions, warnings or reprimands.

This level of disclosure would be for individuals who are involved with working with children or are in regular contact with vulnerable adults, accountancy occupations and some health services. If a Standard Disclosure is required for a position working, with children, it will also give any information on government lists of people considered unsuitable to work with children.

Enhanced CRB Check

This is an enhanced criminal record check certificate as defined under Section 115(6) of the Police Act 1997. These contain all the details on a Standard Disclosure but also involve an extra level of police check. Checking with local police authorities as well as the Police National Computer and relevant government lists, it is the decision of the Chief Constable in the relevant police authority as to what, if any, information is disclosed.

Volunteers CRB Check

Standard or Enhanced Volunteer CRB checks are available to people who work with children or vulnerable adults, and are unpaid ie no payment at all is received for the work they do.


Checks are available in only very exceptional circumstances, where a care worker may be allowed to start work in a care home, for a domiciliary care agency, or as an adult placement carer before a full CRB check has been issued.


See how it works