FAQ: How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?

How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?

How long does a DBS certificate last? It really depends on the role the check is for. Some roles only require a single DBS check upon entry into the profession, while other sectors require regular DBS checks.

Of course, a DBS technically lasts forever – it’s just that a more up-to-date one if preferable for employers, and is more effective in the safeguarding process. An explanation to follow…

How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last? Forever!

A DBS check is a copy of the applicant’s criminal record up to the date shown on the certificate. This means it’ll always be accurate, but only up to the date it was carried out – obviously it can’t disclose convictions that haven’t happened yet.

This is why, even though DBS checks don’t expire, many employers require regular checks to be carried out. They want to make sure nothing’s changed on the criminal record since the previous one.

FAQ: How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? Basic

The easiest way to break down how long does a DBS last in practical terms, is by separating the three levels of check and explaining the situation with each one.

If a role is only eligible for a Basic DBS check, then there are no legal or regulatory requirements for how often it needs updating, or even whether it’s needed in the first place. Basic checks are essentially a luxury optional extra for employers who want some extra assurance about their staff.

Therefore, it is entirely up to the employer how frequently they want their staff to undergo a Basic DBS check.

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? Standard

A mix of roles are eligible for Standard DBS checks. They aren’t a legal requirement for any role, but they are a regulatory requirement – so, employers have to consider what their sector’s regulator requires.

The majority of these regulators only require a DBS check upon entry to the role; however, the employee is still eligible for further Standard checks at the employer’s discretion (visit the government’s official guidance PDF for more information).

Because of the variety of uses for Standard DBS checks, this is one that you should speak to your employer about if you are unsure. Or if you are the employer, get in touch with your regulatory body or local council for advice.

FAQ: How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? Enhanced

The picture is a lot clearer with Enhanced DBS certificates. These are required by both UK law and regulatory bodies. Generally speaking, Enhanced DBS checks are only available for roles involving contact with children or Vulnerable Adults (quickly defined as those undergoing healthcare).

As a result, the vast majority of roles that require Enhanced DBS checks fall under the jurisdiction of two big regulators:

  • Ofsted – Childcare & Education
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – Healthcare & Social Care

For other roles and regulators, it’d be best to speak to your employer, your industry’s regulatory body, or your local council authority for advice.

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? The CQC

The CQC doesn’t have any specific DBS renewal requirement for employers, but they do expect employers to take reasonable safeguarding precautions. This is usually interpreted by employers as “renew staff DBS checks no less frequently than every 3 years”, although many renew their staff DBS checks yearly.

Of course, there is the option of using the DBS Update Service to keep staff checks up-to-date, and we’ll cover it soon.

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? Ofsted

Much like the CQC, Ofsted has no set requirement that clearly states “DBS checks must be renewed every X years”. However, they do assess schools on the strength of their safeguarding policies when their inspectors are doing the rounds.

As a result, the majority of schools get DBS checks for their staff upon entry to the role (which is legally required anyway), and then every 1–3 years following.

Many schools save money on their regular checks by making use of the DBS Update Service…

How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last? Forever, If You Use The Update Service

The DBS Update Service is an official government subscription service that allows applicants to keep their DBS check up-to-date for as long as there are no changes to their criminal record.

It almost always works out cheaper than getting regular DBS checks for staff, so it’s popular in sectors that require regular checks. For more details about the DBS Update Service, click here.

One disadvantage to using the Update Service is that a member of staff must regularly log into all the employee accounts manually to check whether the Service has detected a change to applicants’ DBS statuses (this means they require a new check ASAP).

Thankfully, Aaron’s Department has designed a system that daily checks the Update Service for changes automatically, so you don’t have to – click to find out more about our Automatic Update Service Checker.

FAQ: How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?

Summary: How Long Does a DBS Certificate Last?

DBS checks never expire, as they are an accurate record of the applicant’s criminal history up to the date on the certificate.

However, many organisations will get regular checks for their staff in order to comply with safeguarding guidelines set by industry regulators. How often you’ll need a new DBS is down to your employer in practice.

Many employers in sectors that require regular DBS checks make use of the DBS Update Service to keep their employees’ checks up-to-date.

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Further Reading

If you’ve found our FAQ post, “How Long Does A DBS Certificate Last?” helpful, then you might also like to read these:

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