Using our online system which is directly connected to the UK Government's Gateway, DBS certificates can be dispatched in some cases within 2 hours of the DBS being submitted, although most are received within a week or so.

Please note that there can be a small percentage of DBS checks that could take longer, if there is a barrier in the way of completion.

Possible barriers can include:

  • Multiple entries being found in police databases for a similar or the same name.
  • An application is forwarded to multiple police forces.
  • Requests for extra clarification from the candidate are required.

We find that the longest delays are caused at Stage 4.

At this stage, the application is passed to the local police force for each address that the applicant has lived at within their 5-year (or more) history, or to a Police force where information has been possibly idenified as belonging to the applicant.

When an applicant has moved around multiple Police force areas in the UK in the last 5 years, the application will need to be passed to each of them.

Where the police need to re-validate the identity of the applicant in order to say for sure that the information they have belongs to an applicant or not, the Police force in question could request a fingerprint check, or request copies of the applicant's main ID documents, which can cause a delay in the process.

What is an Adult First Check?

Employers requesting a check for a candidate on the DBS Adults’ Barred list have an additional option of applying for an Adult First check. If candidates pass this check, they are only allowed to work in a supervised role, until their full certificate is returned.

An example would be a Nursing Home providing care services to vulnerable adults. Adult First requests are only allowed if an application meets the following strict criteria:

  • The position must require a criminal record check by law.
  • The position must be eligible for access to the DBS Adults’ Barred list (i.e: they will be working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults).
  • The organisation must have requested a check of the DBS Adults’ Barred list on the DBS application form.

A reply to the Adult First check is received in less than two days and will say that, the registered body must wait for the DBS certificate, or that no match exists for this person on the Adults’ Barred list check.

If the DBS adult first check indicates that the employer must wait for the DBS certificate, the details provided may have indicated a match on the DBS adults’ barred list, and further investigation is required to confirm whether this is the case. Alternatively, the check will state that no match exists for the individual on the adults’ barred list and the applicant can be permitted to start work, under supervision only, with vulnerable adults before a DBS certificate has been obtained.

Please Note: If an Adult First check could not be compelted or it says please await the certificate, we suggest waiting until the full certificate is returned, before rejecting a candidate. This is because there may have been multiple people with similar names, surnames, the DBS certificate was completed quickly or there was an error with the main DBS office preventing it from being completed on time.

Types of DBS Checks

Standard DBS Check

Primarily for the position of accountancy, finance, security and court roles, it also can be requested for certain duties or jobs within hospital or prisons.

This check is for positions of high responsibility, and in most cases will be for those who's work or jobs are regulated by a governing body, for example: Charted Accountants, finacial advisers or for those who are goverened by the SIA (Security Industry Authority).

Other roles eligible for a Standard include certain duties or work within prisons or hospitals indirectly with vulnerable adults or children with limited contact, who are in care or under supervision (eg. Staff/volunteers working in an NHS setting who don't work in heathcare but who do have access to patient records and has limited contact with those in care, or certain prison roles which involve the running of the prison who do not work directly with the detainees).

The Standard DBS reveals spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.

Enhanced DBS Check

This reveals spent, and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings and local police held relevant information.

The application process takes longer than a standard DBS check to be completed and is only available for specific duties, positions and licences included in both the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions Order 1975) and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) regulations. For example, regularly caring for, training, supervising or being solely in charge of children or carrying out specified activities with vulnerable adults such as health care or social care services.

Enhanced with Barred List Check

This check is the same as Enhanced DBS check, but includes a check against appropriate DBS Barred Lists (for those who are working in certain regulated roles or duties with vulnerable Adults and/or Children).

Who Does the DBS Work With?

The DBS checking process is mainly done by the Police. They find information that held locally or on the Police National Computer. When disclosing information, the Police follow a framework which has been developed by The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) (formerly the Association of Chief Police Officers) and the DBS.

The DBS also work with:

  • The Home Office (sponsor the DBS).
  • The Department for Education (owns the safeguarding policy for children).
  • The Department of Health (owns the safeguarding policy for vulnerable groups).

The DBS Checking Process Explained

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of a DBS checking process? We'll tell you!

Step 1: The Application Form is Received

When the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) receive an application, they will check for any errors or omissions. If any are found, it is returned to our Countersignatories, however, as we put the upmost care into our work, this is very unlikely to happen. The application may also be returned if the DBS has any questions or clarifications regarding the application form.

Step 2: Police National Computer (PNC) Search

The application form's data is compared against details held on the Police National Computer, identifying possible matches.

Step 3: Children's and Adult's Barred List Search (If Needed)

Should it be needed for the applicants' role, the Children's and Adult's barred listed will be searched.

Step 4: (Only for Enhanced Checks) Local Police Record Check

At this stage, the application is sent securely to any relevant local police forces checking against their local records.

Stage 5: The DBS Certificate is Printed!

Once all the information has been found and checked, the DBS certificate is ready. All the information that is disclosed is printed under highly secure procedures and then posted to the applicant. Only the applicant can reveal the information contained on the DBS certificate to the employer.

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