There’s been an increase in enquiries to AFF about Certificates of Good Conduct (CGC) which you might need for certain jobs or volunteer work. AFF’s Regional Manager Overseas Esther Thomas tells us more…

What is a Certificate of Good Conduct?
It’s similar to the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, but it’s a police and criminal check to account for periods of time overseas. It’s required in addition to a DBS.

Who needs one?
If you’re seeking employment or volunteer roles in any areas where you may be in contact with young people or vulnerable adults, you’re likely to be asked for a CGC.

When do I need a CGC?
If you’ve lived outside the UK for a continuous period of 12 months or more in the last ten years, you’ll need a criminal check from the country(ies) where you have lived. Yvonne Cleverley, Service Police Crime Bureau vetting officer, said: “Since January 2017, I have provided 155 police certificates for people who are returning to the UK.”

How do I obtain one?
For spouses or soldiers returning from anywhere where there’s an MOD/Service Police Unit, the process is simple, free-of-charge and can normally be completed within 40 days. Most importantly, it can be organised in advance of a move back to the UK so you can be job-ready. Go to for details. If you’re returning from areas where there is no MOD/Service Police Unit, the process is more complex and can cost more. The key is to think ahead and take action before you depart the overseas location. Each country deals with requests in a different way so it’s best to check first – go to

What is AFF doing to help?
We will continue to encourage overseas commands to include information on CGC in their pre-departure information. If you need assistance, contact me at

Upon departing Canada, Army wife Mair Talbot-King felt there was little information for spouses returning to employment in the UK. She turned to AFF for help…

“At no point were any of the non-serving partners made aware of requirements for a CGC for time spent overseas. It only became apparent when I applied for a job at a school in the UK and went through the DBS check. A friend also had the same problem and it cost her £350 to obtain a CGC from the Canadian Mounted Police via an agency.

After speaking to AFF’s Employment Specialist, Laura Lewin, I realised I was not the only one in this situation. Laura obtained a CGC for me free-of-charge; this enabled me to accept the job. Without her help, I would certainly have missed the opportunity!

I advise spouses who are overseas or due to go abroad to research what certificates, references or current training you may need when you return to the UK.

As a mother I did so much research on schools and clubs for my children but forgot about what I might need.

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