You are here

Criminal record checks

  • Organisations we regulate

When using the CQC Disclosures website, we recommend you use Internet Explorer 8 (or above) or Mozilla Firefox browsers.

The website is not currently compatible with Safari and some users have reported problems using the eBulk system in Google Chrome. In the meantime, please use the recommend browsers.

Do I need a criminal record check?

As part of many applications made to us, you will need to undergo a criminal records check – or DBS check (formerly CRB check) – to prove you are not barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.

The following people are usually required to complete the CQC DBS check process:

  • Individuals applying for registration to carry on or manage a care service:
  • All partners
  • Registered managers

Nominated individuals do not need a CQC-countersigned DBS check. Providers must, however, carry out their own DBS checks on all their nominated individuals and may be asked to supply evidence of these.

The guidance document below details who needs to apply for a DBS check and how the process works.

Guidance document on DBS checks PDF | 164.9 KB

We have also produced guidance for providers and managers of adult social care services who are accepting people on placements from Department for Work and Pensions employment programmes.

Guidance document on DBS checks and employment programmes PDF | 117.24 KB

How to apply

The applicant will need to register with us for a CQC DBS. You can do this online using by visiting

Once the application is submitted, we will review it and either release the DBS online form or reject the application. If we release the form, you will receive an email with a link and password to access the form. If we reject the application, we will call you first to explain the reasons.

Our working hours are Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. We aim to release DBS applications within 24 hours depending on the verification checks.

When you have completed the online DBS form, you will be prompted to print a referral letter. The referral letter must be taken to one of the Post Offices that offers the service in the allocated time stated in the letter. You must also take the fee stated in the letter and all identification used within the application for verification.

The Post Office will make a charge of £17.50 for this service, which is included in the fee in the referral letter. The full fee of £61.50 must be paid in cash or card when the referral form is taken in, cheques are no longer valid.

More than 300 crown offices from 8 May 2012 now offer this service, saving providers and their staff time and costs involved with travelling to CQC locations.

Instructions to applicants

The following steps will assist you in completing and understanding the DBS process.

1. Obtaining your DBS disclosure application form

  • Access the CQC DBS link on the Post Office or CQC website
  • Complete the registration process online.
  • If successful the application will be released.
  • Complete the application and print off the referral letter.

2. Verifying your DBS application form

  • Take your completed form to one of the post offices offering the DBS service (find participating post offices using the branch finder below) with:
    • Proof of identity completed within the application (if any identification is missing, the Post Office will reject the application and ask you to return with the correct documents).
    • Payment of the fee included in the referral letter by cash or card. Once accepted the Post Office will release the application.
    • CQC will review the final information and countersign; the application will be released to DBS for the checks to begin.


If any issues are identified, the applicant will be contacted via the communications process of the online system. The applicant will be required to view this on a regular basis. Once the application has been successfully validated, the CQC DBS team will countersign and send the DBS application to DBS.

Find out where to verify your application

Use the branch finder on the Post Office website to find local branches that offer the ID verification service for CQC DBS applications. Just enter your postcode, then click Products & Services to select "CQC CRB ID Verification Service" from the list of options.

Last updated:
6 August 2014