Guidance on Disclosure Certificates

Guidance on Disclosure Certificates

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 Direct Gov website and the Home Office website

The status of the bodies who issue disclosure certificates, particularly standard and enhanced certificates has been changed.

Please refer to the Home Office website pages (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?

In England & Wales there are three types of checks available which produce different Disclosure Certificates.

1)  Enhanced Disclosure Certificates. These can only be obtained by Registered Bodies or Umbrella Organisations for persons employed to work in specifically defined activities

2)  Standard Disclosure Certificates. These can only be obtained by organisations for persons working in specific roles

3)  Basic Disclosure Certificates from Disclosure Scotland. These do not fit into the same legal framework as Enhanced and Standard Disclosure Certificates and individuals can apply for their own certificate.


What type of check do we ask for?

Support With Confidence members will ensure that all persons employed in your operation carrying out any service have an Enhanced Disclosure Certificate.

Support With Confidence members will ensure that where required all such persons are registered with the applicable body.

You will comply with the relevant Code of Conduct

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 do DBS checks?

  1. All staff who do work in or around domestic premises are required to provide a current disclosure certificate.
  2. All staff who have unsupervised access to vulnerable people through their job are required to carry out a DBS check.

Why do we ask for checks?

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

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

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 and that the decisions made once the certificates have been obtained meet the requirements of SWC.

We will ask you to confirm that the certificate remains correct, in that there have been no convictions following the date it was obtained, and will also take into account 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 Criminal Records Bureau. There is guidance on how employers should handle Disclosure Certificates and related employment issues on the Home Office 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 have Disclosure Certificates you should seek the advice of an employment law specialist.

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 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 you should discuss this with us.

We will assess all previous convictions on an individual case-by-case basis.

What does SWC 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.


Do I need to renew Disclosure Certificates?

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

  1. on joining SWC
  2. for new employees

When we re-check your details we will ask that you confirm that to the best of your knowledge the facts contained within the Enhanced 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 an operator you must comply with the rehabilitation rules and we will also disregard convictions which are spent.

Guidance on rehabilitation of offenders is available on the NACRO website at  and type ‘rehabilitation’ into the search field.