HR toolkit

DBS checks FAQs

See below for some common questions around DBS checks.

Can young people have a DBS check?

The minimum age limit for criminal record checks is 16, in accordance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This means that employers must not apply for a criminal record check for individuals under the age of 16.

Are overseas police checks needed for young people who have been on gap years?

Guidance recommends that “employers should request a certificate of good conduct or overseas police checks for all applicants who live overseas, or have disclosed that they have spent a continuous period of six months or more outside of the UK in the last five years prior to their application for the position being offered.”

Interpreting this guidance can prove difficult when the period of 6 months which would usually trigger the need for an overseas police check is spread out over a number of countries. It could be that the individual has only spent a short amount of time in each country, in which case it would be neither feasible nor appropriate to obtain an overseas police check from this county (and all subsequent ones visited in the 6 month period). In situations where an applicant has been in various countries over 6 months or more, you may be able to seek the necessary assurances by asking to see evidence such as passport stamps or visas.

This check is about seeking the necessary assurances that any time spent abroad is accounted for, and that nothing has happened which would throw the applicant’s integrity and suitability for the role into question.

Where a young person has no photographic ID, what can we accept as an alternative?

Where young people do not have a driving licence or passport, there is the opportunity to present alternative documents. This is called route 2 and uses ‘group 2a’ and ‘group 2b’ documents. These documents are listed on the DBS website.