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What are the new filtering rules for DBS certificates?

Updated: Apr 14, 2021


The Disclosure and Barring Services helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, which includes children.


There are rules surrounding which criminal records will be disclosed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate and these rules are set out in legislation. This is referred to as 'filtering'.


Certain old or minor offences may not be disclosed and these are known as 'protected' offences.


There is a list of offences that will always be disclosed on a DBS certificate and these are known as 'specified offences'. These types of offences are usually of a serious violent or sexual nature, or are relevant for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.


The list of specified offences is agreed by Parliament and below are some examples of those offences:

  • any offence of assault of indecent assault on a child

  • any offence of rape

  • endangering safety of any person or property

  • possession for terrorist purposes

  • slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour

  • aid, abet, counsel or procure the commission of an offence

For a full list of the specified offences please click on the link below:


The new filtering rules were introduced on 28 November 2020 and apply to all certificates that were issued on or after 28 November 2020.


The changes to the rules are as follows:

  • warnings, reprimands and youth cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed on a DBS certificate

  • the multiple conviction rule has been removed, meaning that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of offence type or time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed


In addition, please note that Enhanced DBS certificates may also include information from police records relating to a protected caution or conviction, if the police consider the information to be relevant to the sector that the individual has applied for employment in.











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