DBS Identification Checking

The Principles: a reminder

  • You must only accept valid, current and original documentation.
  • You must not accept photocopies.
  • You must not accept documentation printed from the internet e.g. internet bank statements.
  • Identity information for the applicant’s name, date of birth and address recorded in Section A and Section B on the DBS application form must be validated.
  • You should, where possible, ask for photographic identity (e.g. passport, new style driving licence, etc. and for this to be compared against the applicant’s likeness).
  • All documents must be in the applicant's current name as recorded in Section A.
  • One document must confirm the applicant’s date of birth as recorded in Section A.
  • One document must confirm the applicant's current address as recorded in Section B, which is no older than three months.
  • You must provide a full and continuous address history covering the last 5 years. Where possible you should seek documentation to confirm this address history.
  • You should cross match the applicant’s address history with any other information you have been provided with as part of the recruitment, such as their CV. This can highlight if an address has not been given e.g. if the applicant’s CV shows that they have worked in Liverpool in the last 5 years but the application form only shows London addresses, you may wish to question the applicant further about this.
  • Only one document from each of the subgroups in Group 2 should be included in the document count e.g. do not accept two bank statements as two of the required documents, if they are from the same bank.
  • You cannot accept the foreign equivalent of an identity document if that document is listed as ‘(UK)’ on the list of valid identity documents.
  • If an identity document is provided in a foreign language, you must obtain a translation of that document, certified by a Notary Public.


Document checks

The person going through a DBS check - ‘the applicant’ - must give their employer original documents proving their identity. The documents required will depend on the route the application takes. The applicant must try to provide documents from Route 1 first.

Route 1

The applicant must be able to show one document from Table 1, below and two other documents from either Table 1 or Table 2a or 2b, below. At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address.

Route 2

If the applicant doesn’t have any of the documents in Table 1, then they must be able to show one document from Table 2a and two other documents from either Table 2a or 2b. At least one of the documents must show the applicant’s current address. The organisation conducting their ID check must then also use an appropriate external ID validation service to check the application.

Route 3

Route 3 can only be used if it hasn’t been possible to process the application through Routes 1 or 2. For Route 3, the applicant must be able to show:

  • A birth certificate issued after the time of birth (UK and Channel Islands)
  • One document from Table 2a
  • Three further documents from Table 2a or 2b

At least one of these documents must show the applicant’s current address. If the applicant can’t provide these documents they may need to be fingerprinted.

Table 1: Primary identity documents

Document

Notes

Passport

Any current and valid passport

Biometric residence permit

UK

Current driving licence - photo card (full or provisional)

UK/Isle of Man/Channel Islands

Birth certificate issued at time of birth

UK and Channel Islands – including those issued by UK authorities overseas, eg Embassies, High Commissions and HM Forces

Adoption certificate

UK and Channel Islands

Table 2a: Trusted government documents

Document

Notes

Current driving licence photocard - (full or provisional)

All countries outside the EU (excluding Isle of Man and Channel Islands)

Current driving licence – paper version (if issued before 1998) (full or provisional)

UK, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and EU

Birth certificate – issued after time of birth

UK and Channel Islands

Marriage/civil partnership certificate

UK and Channel Islands

HM Forces ID card

UK

Firearms licence

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Table 2b: Financial and social history documents

Document

Notes

Issue date and validity

Mortgage statement

UK or EEA

Issued in last 12 months

Bank/building soc statement

UK and Channel Islands or EEA

Issued in last 3 months

Bank/building soc account opening confirmation letter

UK

Issued in last 3 months

Credit card statement

UK or EEA

Issued in last 3 months

Financial statement, eg pension or endowment

UK

Issued in last 12 months

P45 or P60 statement

UK and Channel Islands

Issued in last 12 months

Council Tax statement

UK and Channel Islands

Issued in last 12 months

Work permit or visa

UK

Valid up to expiry date

Letter of sponsorship from future employment provider

Non-UK or non-EEA only – valid only for applicants residing outside the UK at time of application

Must still be valid

Utility bill

UK – not mobile telephone bill

Issued in last 3 months

Benefit statement, eg Child Benefit, Pension

UK

Issued in last 3 months

Central or local government, government agency, or local council document giving entitlement, eg from the Department for Work & Pensions, the Employment Service, HMRC

UK and Channel Islands

Issued in last 3 months

EU National ID card

Must still be valid

Cards carrying the PASS accreditation logo

UK and Channel Islands

Must still be valid

Letter from Head Teacher or College Principal

UK - for 16 to 19 year olds in full time education - only used in exceptional circumstances if other documents cannot be provided

Must still be valid

At least one document must confirm the applicant’s current address and at least one document must confirm the applicant’s date of birth.

If the applicant has been adopted

If adopted before the age of 10, they should give their adoptive name in Section A not their surname at birth. This is because the age of criminal responsibility is deemed to be 10 years, under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. This means that there is no possibility that an individual could have a criminal record in a name that was used until the age of 10.

If the applicant has changed their name recently and cannot provide ID documents in this new name

Documents in a previous name can be accepted ONLY where the applicant can provide documentation supporting a recent change because of:

  • Marriage/civil partnership {marriage/civil partnership certificate
  • Divorce/civil partnership dissolution {decree absolute/civil partnership dissolution certificate}
  • Deed poll {Deed Poll certificate}

In these instances, you must:

a) Return a 'Continuation Sheet' with the application form clearly stating

  • Current and previous names
  • Date of the change
  • Reason for the change
  • The document you have seen to support this change

b) Ensure that all ‘Previous names’ and ‘Dates used’ are recorded in Section A (Additional Personal Details)


Checking Document

Checking Driving Licences

Do not accept licenses, other than those stated in the list of valid identity documents. English, Welsh and Scottish driving licence numbers contain information about the applicant's name, sex and date of birth. This information is written in a special format but can be gleaned and matched against the information provided by the applicant in Section A.

Please note that the date of birth on English, Welsh and Scottish driving licences, issued before 1977, is not recorded as a separate entry on the licence. The date of birth can be deciphered from the driving licence number and checked against the date of birth field on the application form.

For example the format of the number for Christine Josephine Robinson, born 2 July 1975

R O B I N 7 5 7 0 2 5 C J 9 9 9 0 1 N N N N N Y M M D D Y I I C C C C C

N = 1st five letters of the surname (if the surname begins MAC or MC it is treated as MC for all). Y = YEAR of birth. M = MONTH of birth (In the case of a female, the number represented by the first M will have the value 5 added to the first digit e.g. a female born in November (i.e. 11) would display '61' in the MM boxes or if born in February (i.e. 02) would display ‘52’). D = DAY of month of birth. I = Initial letter of the first two forenames - if only one, then 9 will replace the second letter. If the licence indicates that the applicant has a middle name, ensure that one has been provided in Section A. C = Computer generated.

For Northern Ireland; Isle of Man and Jersey driving licences the licence number is in a different format. The licence number is unique to the driver and the ‘name’ or ‘date of birth’ validation, as shown above, cannot be used.

Checking an EU photo identity card

Examine the card for evidence of photo tampering or any amendment of the printed details.

Checking an HM Forces ID card

Examine the card for evidence of photo tampering or any amendment of the printed details.

Checking a firearms licence

Check the licence is printed on blue security paper with a Royal crest watermark and a feint pattern stating the words ‘Home Office’. Examine the licence for evidence of photo tampering or any amendment of the printed details, which should include home address and date of birth. The licence should be signed by the holder and bear the authorising signature of the chief of police for the area in which they live, or normally a person to whom his authority has been delegated.

Other forms of identification

Ensure all letters and statements are recent, i.e. within a 3 month period. Do not accept documentation printed from the internet. Check letter headed paper is used, bank headers are correct and all documentation looks genuine. The address should be cross-referenced with that quoted in Section B.


How do I check for indicators of fraud?

Always check for signs of tampering when checking identity documents. Documents should be queried if they display any signs of damage, especially in the areas of personal details such as the name and the photograph. The following guidelines should help you look out for any suspicious signs when authenticating documents.

Checking a passport

Check the general quality and condition of the passport. Treat it with suspicion if it is excessively damaged; accidental damage is often used to conceal tampering. Photographs should be examined closely for signs of damage to the laminate or for excessive glue or slitting of the laminate; these signs would indicate photo substitution. If the photograph appears excessively large, this might indicate an attempt to hide another photograph underneath. There should also be an embossed strip embedded into the laminate, which will catch a portion of the photograph. Check there is no damage to this area. If the passport is from a foreign national, you can still follow the same general procedures as above.

Checking a photo driving licence

Examine the licence for evidence of photo tampering or any amendment of the printed details.
Remove the document from the plastic wallet and check that it is printed on both sides. It should have a watermark visible by holding the licence up to the light and there should be no punctuation marks in the name or address. The ‘Valid To’ date should be the day before the bearer’s 70th birthday (unless the bearer is already over 70). The ‘Valid To’ date can therefore be cross-referenced with the applicant’s date of birth detailed in Section A.

Checking a birth certificate

Birth certificates are not wholly reliable for confirming identity, since copies are easily obtained. However, certificates issued at the time of birth are more reliable than recently issued duplicates.
Check the quality of paper used; genuine certificates use a high grade. There should be a watermark visible when the document is held up to the light. Any signs of smoothness on the surface would indicate that original text might have been washed or rubbed away. There should be no signs of tampering, changes using liquid paper, overwriting or spelling mistakes.


For Further Information

If you are unsure about any part of the ID checking process contact the DBS helpline on 0870 9090 811.
https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/documents-the-applicant-must-provide-