DBS Check or CRB Check: What is the difference?

dbs check what is the difference

DBS Check or CRB Check: What is the difference?

For many jobs, a DBS check is a mandatory requirement, with various levels of DBS check required depending on the precise position held. However, as these checks become more commonly required, it can be confusing as some companies, websites and individuals talk about CRB checks, rather than the DBS check that the process is now referred to. Additionally, those that have completed a check several years ago will recognize the CRB name as the background check they are familiar with, but they may not know what the DBS check that is asked for today is.

Some still refer to DBS and CRB checks too, adding more confusion, so the question often asked is what are the differences between a CRB check and a DBS check, and what do each mean?

CRB Check

CRB stands for Criminal Records Bureau, and that was the name of the government department, part of the Home Office, responsible for reporting of all criminal records in the country. However, it was restricted solely to criminal records, and worked with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), to provide the barring data that we know find within an enhanced DBS check.

This approach while effective, is less efficient than having a single organization oversee all data, and so in 2012 the government created a single, non-departmental public body to handle all aspects of background checks at every level. This new body is called the Disclosure and Barring Service, and that is where the DBS check name comes from.

How does a DBS check differ from a CRB check?

In terms of application, the process is more refined now, offering a faster response as there is a single entity for all records, rather than the two previously, but otherwise a CRB check and DBS check are essentially the same thing.

A basic DBS check matches the standard CRB check, while the former ISA check is now known as the Adult First Check, which is also incorporated into the Enhanced DBS check too.

It is important to know that if you passed a CRB check in the past, and now need a new one, then the DBS check is the equivalent that you need to apply for. If in the past you needed a CRB and ISA check, then a standard or enhanced DBS check is what you need to replace it, depending on the exact situation. If you hear someone taking about CRB checks, you can simply take it as meaning a DBS check, and view the two labels as interchangeable to avoid confusion.