How Long is a DBS Check Valid For? 2 Minute Quick Read

How Long Is A DBS Check Valid For?

One of the most commonly asked questions about Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks is, “How long is a DBS check valid for?”

The short answer is that there is no official expiry date for a DBS check.
DBS checks are a complete record of the applicant’s criminal history, up to the date on the certificate. Any criminal record history following the date cannot be disclosed – it hasn’t happened yet!

For a lot of roles though, regular DBS certificates are mandatory. Here, we’ll go over factors to consider when it comes to how long is a DBS check valid for, and when yours might need renewing.

Do DBS Checks Expire After 3 years?

DBS checks don’t have an expiration date. However, the information disclosed on a DBS certificate will become outdated over time, and employers may request a new check to ensure that the information is up-to-date.

Some sectors (primarily Healthcare and Childcare/Education) legally require regular DBS checks for their staff, and these tend to be requested every 1–3 years. This is where the 3-year expiry myth originates.

How Long is a DBS Check valid for?

Factors Affecting The Validity of DBS Checks

So, if there is no official expiry date for a DBS check, how long is a DBS Check valid for? It depends on the internal policy of the organisation requesting the check, and the rules set by the regulatory body governing their sector.

For example, Ofsted requires school staff to get regular Enhanced DBS checks no less frequently than every 3 years – but schools often insist on having them renewed much more frequently.

At the end of the day, the validity of your DBS check will depend on the policies of the organisations requesting the check. If you’re reading this because you ARE the organisation and want to see how often your staff checks need renewing, you should check the website of whichever regulatory body governs your industry.

How long is a DBS valid for: Employer Considerations

DBS checks are a valuable tool for making safe recruitment decisions. While there is no official expiry date for a DBS check, it can be well worth regularly renewing your staff DBS checks, or refusing to accept an old DBS check during the hiring process. There are a few key reasons you might want to do this, as an employer:

If your staff require Standard or Enhanced DBS checks, then there is likely a legal requirement to conduct a new DBS check for staff entering employment, and there may be a requirement to conduct regular checks on existing staff.

This interval would depend entirely on your sector’s regulatory body. Have a search online to find their requirements, or leave a comment at the bottom of the page, and we’ll have a look for you.

Safeguarding Purposes

If your organisation has a duty of care to vulnerable groups, such as Children or Vulnerable Adults, you may want to conduct more frequent rechecks than are perhaps legally required.

Using Ofsted again as an example, they require DBS checks to be refreshed every 3 years at the latest. However, if you want a high safeguarding score at your school’s next Ofsted inspection, consider renewing staff DBS checks more frequently.

Commercial Purposes

Even if your staff aren’t legally required to be checked, paying for a few Basic checks (which can be requested for anyone, with no eligibility requirements) can boost confidence in your staff, and be good for business.

The two biggest groups we see getting Basic DBS checks for this purpose are recruitment agencies and tradespeople.

How Long is a DBS Check valid for?

How long is a DBS valid for: The DBS Update Service

Some people put their DBS certificates on the Update Service – an official government subscription service that keeps DBS certificates up-to-date indefinitely for just £13 a year. However, if there are any changes to a subscriber’s criminal record, it will invalidate their Update Service subscription. A new check should be requested as soon as possible in such cases.

Detecting Criminal Record Changes Using The Update Service

Annoyingly, the DBS Update Service doesn’t notify anybody if it detects changes to a subscriber’s certificate. The system must be manually logged into and checked for every account your organisation has – regularly. This is a boring, time-consuming job, and it’s easily put to one side. That’s why Aaron’s Department has created an Automatic Update Service Checker, which will do the job for you every single day, and notify you if there are any changes requiring action. Follow the link below to read more about it:

Summary: How long is a DBS Check valid for?

There is no official expiry date for a DBS check. The information on the certificate is correct and complete, up to the date printed on the certificate. From there, it is up to individual organisations to decide how frequently they want to renew staff DBS checks, or whether to accept an old DBS check during the hiring process.

If you’re responsible for your organisation’s DBS checks, and have any questions, feel free to direct them our way! Aaron’s Department is a leading DBS provider, and we’re sure to have the answer. Our fast-tracked, easy-to-use, and affordable system is the choice of thousands of organisations – if you’re looking to save on your staff DBS checks, use the buttons opposite to sign up (for free) and get started in minutes.

how long is a dbs valid for?

Further Reading

If you have found our article, “How Long is a DBS Check Valid For?” helpful, we’ve linked a few more of our pages you might also find handy:

About The Author

FAQ: Which DBS Is The Best?

John Schofield-Antoncich

John has processed more applications than days he has been alive, and has become the DBS expert. Got a question? He knows the answer!

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