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What is a DBS check and how do I apply for one?

Monday, 15 March, 2021

A lot of us in the world of banding will have needed to complete a DBS check at one time or another, but what exactly is a DBS check, and who needs one?

DBS is short for Disclosure & Barring Service. A DBS check serves to prevent unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable groups of people. On successful completion of a DBS check a certificate will be issued for that individual. Employers can then ask to see this certificate to ensure that the individual they are recruiting is suitable to bring into their organisation.

Anyone involved in a band who will come into contact with young people under the age of 18 should have a DBS check and certificate.

Types of DBS check

There are four types of DBS Checks: Basic, Standard, Enhanced and Enhanced with barred list. The enhanced and enhanced with barred list option can be for Child Workforce, Adult Workforce or both. The relevant barred list will be checked depending on which workforce the individual will be working with.  

Full video resource available in the BBE Member Resources library.

How to apply for a DBS check

You can apply for a Basic DBS check yourself through the Government criminal record check portal. To apply for a basic DBS check you’ll need:

  • addresses for all of your places of residence for the last 5 years and the dates that you lived there

  • your National Insurance number

  • your passport

  • your driving licence

If you don’t have a passport or driving licence you could use your birth certificate, a mortgage statement and a council tax statement. There are many different combinations of documents you can use, they can all be found on the government website.

For enhanced and enhanced with barred list applications, you will need to go through an umbrella organisation, such as Brass Bands England.

How long does a DBS check take?

If you carry out a Basic DBS check yourself online, you can expect to wait up to 14 days for a result. A DBS application done through Brass Bands England can take up to 8 weeks from receipt, but can depend on:

  • how busy the Government DBS checking service is

  • whether you complete your DBS form correctly first time

  • how complicated your form is, for example, if you have many name or address changes, this may add to processing time

Currently, DBS checks are being processed within 3-4 weeks. Further details regarding the full application process are included in our DBS video in the BBE Member Resources area.

Free DBS checks with Brass Bands England

BBE provides a free DBS Check service for volunteers of our member bands. We can also process checks for paid employees of any organisation for £45, or for volunteers of bands who are not BBE members (also £45).

This is a valued service by our membership and part of our wider work around DBS, safeguarding, and working with young people.

If you have more questions about DBS checks you can view our new DBS Checks video resource and PDF guide in our Member Resources library. This also includes information on how the DBS update service can save you time and money when reapplying.

I have my DBS certificate, what next?

The BandSafe Toolkit is a free resource designed to give you confidence in your safeguarding practices by helping you to create and implement an effective safeguarding policy. The toolkit has been developed by BBE in partnership with the NSPCC.

The BandSafe training course is a paid-for, three-hour professional workshop developed with the NSPCC. It is tailored to the challenges you might face in a band or voluntary music-making environment. A must for all organisation safeguarding officers, we currently offer a 40% discount on this course to our member bands.

Completion of the BandSafe training course and toolkit gives you access to the BBE held ‘BOPA’, an admin-saving resource allowing bands in England and Wales to easily apply for Child Performance Licensing.

Remember, everyone in or working with your band who is likely to come into contact with children should be DBS checked. We can help, saving you time and money, by checking your band volunteers for free. Find our more about becoming a BBE member, if you’re not already, to access this service.

Got more questions about DBS checks? Check out our DBS Checks FAQ.