The Most Common DBS Check Errors

Help Avoiding Mistakes A miniature, super businessman saves someone from slipping on a banana peel. The shoe, man, and banana peel are on a separately labeled layer from the background.

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) were recently replaced by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). However, the mistakes that were often made during a CRB check application have carried over, and applicants must be equally as vigilant against making them.

Around 200,000 applications are rejected each year thanks to easily avoidable errors. Ensure that you avoid making some of the common mistakes listed below.

Incorrect Date Format

Your DBS form will be rejected should the date be written out in the incorrect format. The correct way to write out a date is: dd/mm/yyyy. Write the information out clearly in this exact format. This is one of the most frequently made mistakes during the DBS process, and it’s also one of the most avoidable.

Scruffy Writing

Poor penmanship could cost you your DBS certificate, so make sure you work slowly and carefully to keep your writing as clear as possible. Failing to do so will often lead to the wrong information being released, but even slightly illegible writing could cause your application to be rejected.


If you do make any mistakes, put a line through the mistake and then correct it to the right. Do not use correction fluid or tape. If you mistakenly answer both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to the same question, place a clear circle around the correct answer. Do not attempt to cross an answer out.

Additionally, make sure your writing never strays outside of the given boxes. This can also result in the rejection of your application.

Incorrect Scanning

If you’re completing a digital application, you will need to scan in copies of certain documents. Only quality scanned copies will be accepted. Make sure that they are full-sized and that the whole document is in frame.

Out of Date Documents

Finally, ensure that your documents are all valid. The DBS check requires Primary Identity Documents (such as a passport), plus two Trusted Government Documents (such as a driving licence or marriage licence) or two Financial and Social History Documents (such as a bank statement or utility bill). If you need to include Financial and Social History Documents, remember to check their issue date. Many will only be valid for your DBS check if issued within the last 3 months.

Remember, both the CRB check and the new DBS check were designed to allow employers to protect both their business and the people who use it, so even the smallest mistake can result in rejection.

1 Comment

  1. Date Format:
    There are two different date formats required on the application (DDMMYYYY for DOB and date signed/MMYYYY for name and address histories).

    The DBS always need the full (four digit) year, so if there are 6 boxes, you should give MMYYYY and if there are eight boxes, give DDMMYYY.

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