Latest Transgender/Sensitive CRB check process

Prior to the election in May 2010, the Home Office had the sensitive applications Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) process on their website. All content was removed after May 5th, and this information was not replaced. I have just had to undergo a CRB check however, so for others the following information may be useful. This is direct from an email exchange with the CRB.

If a Trans person is required to complete a CRB check, CRB offers a confidential checking process in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004. This gives the Trans person the choice as to whether they are content or not for their previous gender to be disclosed on their CRB Certificate.

If an applicant decides they do not wish for their previous identity to be disclosed to their employer and/or on their CRB Certificate, they should call the dedicated team in Customer Services who are experienced in dealing with these types of sensitive cases. A member of this team will advise the applicant about the process and what they will need to do.

If the applicant does not feel comfortable dealing directly with a member of this dedicated Customer Service team, the applicant should contact the team and give details of a nominated person that the CRB can deal with on their behalf. Alternatively, the applicant can contact the team direct by email, post or telephone.

How the process works:
When the applicant calls the team, they are advised that “we do have a confidential checking process in place for applicants who do not wish for their previous name/gender to be disclosed on their CRB Certificate”. They are advised not to enter their previous name(s).in Section 4 where asked have you used any other names tick no part of the CRB application form and then complete the rest of the form as they normally would. Just before or at the same time the application is submitted, the applicant must send, direct to the team, a document that confirms the previous name(s) which they used e.g. Change of Name Deed, Original Birth Certificate. A Gender Recognition Certificate is not required for this process. The applicant should include a short, covering letter that confirms their current name, full address with postcode and a contact telephone number. We have found that some applicants may not have sufficient documentary evidence to support a CRB application. If this is the case, the applicant should contact the team as soon as possible to discuss.

Once this information is received, the application will be monitored everyday until the CRB Certificate is issued. If any queries are raised at any stage of the process, it will be dealt with sensitively by the team. If any further information is required, the applicant (or nominated person) will be contacted by a member of this team.

There’s one final paragraph which I’ll quote separately as it’s quite important: there is no guarantee this process will not out you. Emphasis is mine. I would also add that the CRB have made errors in the past and associated people with the wrong criminal records, so not having a criminal background is no guarantee.

The applicant is always advised when they first call that “if you have a conviction in your previous name/gender, this may show on their CRB Certificate“. If an applicant does have a conviction which may reveal their previous name/gender, it would be useful for the applicant to advise us as soon as possible. An applicant may be able to avoid previous details being disclosed, so advising us sooner rather than later will help speed up the process.

Contact details (Notably also missing from the web site!) are: Sensitive Applications Team, Customer Services, Criminal Records Bureau, PO BOX 165, Liverpool, L69 3JD, phone 0151 676 1452 (Direct line) or email

The CRB were happy to accept a scanned copy of my Deed Poll via EMail rather than needing an original or certified copy via post, but also asked me to confirm my full name, date of birth and current address.

I haven’t had the CRB check back yet (I’m not even sure the form has been sent in by those requesting it) but if they mess this one up, I’ll be sure to let you all know…


  1. I went through CRB check late 2010, result back early 2011, and used the ‘sensitive’ process. It was, obviously, as you described.

    Its worth noting that was without a GRC, and at the time I was mid transition using two names – I had regulated that position with a stat dec to confirm both names, and I had bank records in both names, passport etc old name still, shotgun licence new name. Dispute the ambiguities all went well.

    1. Out of interest, how do you know about the process? It’s poorly advertised and I wonder if either Trans folk are lying on the form (No previous names…) or feel they have to out themselves when they fill them im.

  2. Hi, I used to work on the CRBs Sensitive Team. When CRB had our own website we had some limited info about the process, but when we were forced to move all content onto the Home Office website (to save £s) al lot of content disappeared.
    We have always had problems with publicising the service as, if we go into too much detail, people who do not have a valid reason to use it to circumvent the normal checking procedures. To get info about the Sensitive process to the Trans community we have endeavoured to get content on the process onto larger trans websites. We also have an arrangement with the GRO that when they issue GRCs they include a flyer for us. I understand that this won’t reach all Trans applicants and we are always looking at ways of publicising the service (in a safe way, so that it is not misused). If you have ideas, please email CRB in confidence.

    With regards to the comments about people being outed becuase of convictions in thier previous name, if you are upfront about any cautions, convictions etc, we may be able to get the owning police force to change the record name. However, this needs the applicant to be upfront, so that we can give appropriate advice.

    Hope this helps, I’m sure if you contact the team you will be reassured (John is lovely and always tries to help).

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