CRB checks

Changes to Criminal Records Bureau checks

The government has announced a reduction in Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for volunteers as part of its Freedoms Bill. These changes will make it easier to volunteer in schools.

Teachers and youth workers will continue to be vetted but volunteers who do occasional, supervised work with children will not.

Review of the Vetting and Barring Scheme (2011):


About the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) acts as a 'one-stop-shop' for organisations, checking police records and, in relevant cases, information held by the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education (DfE).  There are two levels of CRB check currently available; called Standard and Enhanced Disclosures.

The two CRB checks are available in cases where an employer is entitled to ask exempted questions under the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. This includes any organisation whose staff or volunteers work with children or vulnerable adults.  They are issued free to volunteers.


Standard Disclosure

This is primarily available to anyone involved in working with children or vulnerable adults, as well as certain other occupations and entry into professions as specified in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974.  Standard Disclosures show current and spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer.  If the post involves working with children or vulnerable adults, the following may also be searched:

  • Protection of Children Act (POCA) List
  • Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) List
  • Information that is held under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 (formerly known as List 99).


Enhanced Disclosure

This is the highest level of check available to anyone involved in regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults.  It is also available in certain licensing purposes and judicial appointments.  Enhanced Disclosures contain the same information as the Standard Disclosure but with the addition of any relevant and proportionate information held by the local police forces.

The CRB recognises that the Standard and Enhanced Disclosure information can be extremely sensitive and personal, therefore it has published a Code of Practice and employers' guidance for recipients of Disclosures to ensure they are handled fairly and used properly.

A copy of the Standard or Enhanced Disclosure will be sent out to the applicant as well as the Registered Body.


What is the CRB?

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is an Executive Agency of the Home Office that helps organisations make more informed recruitment and licensing decisions by offering access to police and government records.


Who needs a CRB Check?

Anyone applying for a job or voluntary position that involves working with young people or vulnerable adults could be asked to apply for a CRB check.


How employees apply for a CRB check

Employers may decide to register with the CRB if they will be submitting more than 100 applications to CRB each year. They can view Registered body guidance for more information. Alternatively, smaller employers can join an existing umbrella body of other organisations.

In all instances, employees will have to provide evidence of their name, address and date of birth, along with the name and number of the employer organisation, and the level of CRB check. They will have to complete a paper application form handed to them by their employer.


Filling in the application form

The CRB website contains a guidance booklet on how to complete the form. Employees will also need to show the CRB a number of documents to prove their identity, e.g. a passport, driving license, birth certificate, utility bills.


Dispatching the form

The employer should return identity documents to their employees and send the form back to the CRB for processing.

Address: CRB, PO Box 110, Liverpool, L69 3EF

The form will arrive at the CRB in Liverpool to be assessed. The CRB check will then be dispatched; one copy is sent to the employee and another is sent to he person who countersigned the application form.

The CRB aims to issue 90% of Enhanced checks in 28 days and Standard checks in ten days.



There is a small charge for employers to register with the CRB (either as registered bodies or as part of an umbrella body). There is no charge for individual applicants' CRB checks if they are undertaking voluntary work: engaging in activity that involves spending time, unpaid (except for travelling and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something that aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives.

For more information on CRB, visit the website.


Information is taken from the CRB website.