We get the question: “how long do DBS checks last?” quite often, and for good reason! It’s not a clear-cut answer. Although DBS checks never really “expire”, this doesn’t mean you should use or accept an old one. In this blog, we’ll go over just how often you need to have DBS checks done, for yourself or your staff, and what choices you have in the process.
How Long do DBS Checks Last: What is a DBS Check?
Simply put, a DBS Check is a background check on an individual, covering their criminal record, and any other information the police may have on file for that individual – for example, cautions. DBS checks are robust and thorough, covering an individual’s complete history.
The government website explains that a DBS check has no expiry date – which is true. The check is simply a record of everything up to the date of issue.
However, in practice, a DBS check becomes incomplete from the day it is issued. This is because any crimes committed after the date of issue won’t appear on the certificate.
How Long do DBS Checks Last: So They Only Last a Day?
Thankfully not. Employers are legally able to accept any DBS check, no matter how old it is. Any checks done before 2012 will be called CRB checks, rather than DBS checks and, despite their age, employers are legally able to accept these too. It is strongly recommended not to though, as it’s been over a decade since 2012 and a lot can change in that time!
How Long do DBS Checks Last: Is There Really no Expiry Date?
DBS checks do not expire! An unscrupulous employer could legally hire somebody with a 10-year-old DBS check without performing a new one. In practice, this is incredibly unlikely to happen though. Employers simply do not want to risk hiring somebody to work in a sensitive role without an up-to-date DBS check. They just reserve the right to make their own judgement as to what constitutes “up-to-date”.
If, for example, your organisation is regulated by a body like the Care Quality Commision (CQC), then they are likely to have their own rules in place for how often a DBS needs to be renewed.
It is recommended that DBS checks should be updated every three years at the latest.
How Long Does a DBS Check Last: Renewing
Sometimes, employers decide that it is not enough that a single DBS check is performed upon the hiring of new staff and, for safeguarding purposes, they choose to repeatedly check their staff.
There are two main ways to keep your staff’s DBS checks “up to date”. Firstly, you can have checks performed on your staff on an annual basis, or any other time-frame of your choosing. Yearly is common in many sensitive industries such as healthcare and education.
Or, you could use the relatively-new DBS Update service, a subscription based DBS service where the police will add any relevant information as it occurs, rather than you having to make the applications.
Of the two, the Update Service provides a much more responsive approach, as you will see when there is a change to the applicant’s certificate, rather than waiting for the new check in one, two, or three years time!
At Aaron’s Department, we offer automatic checking of the DBS Update Service, meaning as soon as there is a change to a registered certificate, you’ll know instantly!
You can read more about how you can benefit from this on our Automatic DBS Update Service Check page.
How Long Does a DBS Check Last: The Wrap-up
In conclusion, DBS checks last forever – they don’t expire. What happens instead is that they become less useful to employers as time goes by, so employers often choose to require new checks to be performed. We hope this has addressed the question “how long does a DBS check last?”, as it’s one we see being asked quite frequently!
A Bit About Ourselves
If you need some DBS checks doing for your staff, why not consider getting them done with us here at Aaron’s Department?
Our online, cost-effective system enables you to quickly register and set up candidate accounts. This allows the individual to easily complete the information themselves, providing a smooth and stress-free application.
Our experienced countersignatories will handle your applications with the utmost care and attention to ensure they are correct.
Just click the green button below to register your organisation for free. If you have any more questions, we’re happy to answer them! You can reach our team at (email) or call us at (phone), or just have a dig around the website.