Saturday, 20th April 2019


Introduced in 2002, the Criminal Records Bureau forms part of the UK Home Office and performs criminal records checks on behalf of public, private and voluntary sector organisations, in order that they can make more informed decisions as to whether a potential employee is suitable for a particular role. It is currently used by over 10,000 UK organisations.

Purpose of criminal record checks

Checks are by no means necessary for every job. The main types of organisations which rely on CRB checks are those whose employees work:

  • With children, the elderly and vulnerable people
  • With animals
  • With significant sums of money
  • With personal or sensitive information
  • In healthcare
  • In professional bodies
  • With the law

Not only does the CRB work to protect people, animals and information, it also aims to ensure that organisations are also protected from the risks of court action, should they mistakenly hire a convicted criminal who is inappropriate for a job.


Areas of work and types of employers that will generally check an applicant’s criminal record include schools, hospitals, charities and care facilities. All these types of employers are featured on the Exemptions to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Those organisations must be registered with the Criminal Records Bureau prior to requesting checks from an applicant.

Levels of disclosure

There are two types of check: standard and enhanced.

The standard searches the Police National Computer Database and the enhanced scours the list of individuals banned from working with children and vulnerable groups, in addition to the Police National Computer Database.

The type of check performed will be decided at the employer’s discretion and can reveal:

  • Convictions - being found guilty of a crime and prosecuted
  • Police cautions - an official alternative to prosecution used in cases where full prosecution is deemed unnecessary
  • Driving bans - can be instant or the result of 'totting up' 12 points on a license
  • Reprimands and warnings - similar to cautions, given only to young people between the ages of 10 and 18 years

The cost of getting your criminal record checked

The person applying for the CRB check is responsible for the cost. However, many employers will reimburse an employee after a check has been carried out.

  • Standard checks: £26
  • Enhanced checks: £44

For more information, please visit: The Criminal Records Bureau