FAQ Guide: DBS Check Stage 4

DBS Check stage 4

What is a DBS Check Stage 4?

There are five stages to the DBS check process. Stage 4 involves a review of the information gathered during the previous stages, and a check of the local police forces’ records.

Here, any remaining discrepancies in the check are assessed, and the police have the option to disclose extra information if they deem it to be relevant to the role being applied for.

What Does DBS Check Stage 4 Involve?

Stage 4 is the most time-consuming stage of a DBS Check. Your Enhanced DBS Check goes to your local police force where the information gathered during Stages 1-3 is cross-checked against the local police forces’ records.

The local forces also have the option to disclose on the certificate any extra information they deem relevant to the applicant’s job role. In practice, this only happens rarely, and it’s even rarer that it affects your employment status.

DBS Check Stage 4 Outcomes

DBS Check Stage 4 is where the outcome of your DBS check is determined (since Stage 5 is the printing/posting stage). Stage 4 has two possible outcomes:

The first is a ‘clear’ result, indicating that no criminal record information will be disclosed on the DBS certificate at all. The other outcome is a ‘disclosure’ result, indicating that the individual has an unfiltered criminal record.

The details of the criminal record will be disclosed on the DBS certificate, which will be posted to the applicant, and never any other party. The applicant is then free to decide whether to show the certificate to their employer. At this point, the employer can decide whether to proceed with the recruitment process.

FAQ Guide: DBS Check Stage 4

DBS Check Stage 4 – what causes the delays?

DBS Check Stage 4 experiences delays much more frequently than the other stages. If your check is stuck in processing, chances are it’s stuck at Stage 4. There are a few reasons this can happen:

Local Force Delays

Often, Stage 4 delays are caused by one of the local police forces responsible for completing the Stage 4 checks experiencing high demand, or a backlog.

For example, during the 2012 London riots, thousands of DBS checks were delayed at Stage 4 as the local forces in London were at capacity dealing with more urgent matters.

Currently, 7 of the UK’s 48 police forces are experiencing delays and backlogs. These are:

North Yorkshire

Extensive 5-year Address History

Applicants who have had lots of addresses over the last 5 years, are more likely to experience delays because this increases the likelihood that more local police forces will be participating in the check – and the more forces, the greater the chance that one of them will be experiencing delays.

If just one of the forces is behind on their checks, the whole application grinds to a halt.

Names and Name History

For particularly common names, the local forces must carry out extra checks to ensure they’ve got the right person’s records, which can cause delays.

Also, individuals who’ve changed names are more prone to delays. For each change of name, the police (in practice) have to check an extra person’s records!

Application Errors and Requests For Extra Information

If there are any errors, commissions, or discrepancies with previous applications, the DBS will either reject the application outright without refund, or contact the Umbrella Body with a request for further information/clarification.

Requests for extra information also infrequently occur when the DBS conduct spot-checks on applications they’d like to double-check.

If more information is requested, this request will be sent to the Umbrella Body, who must then contact the employer that facilitated the application (who will then often will need to speak to the applicant) to answer the DBS’s questions.

As you can imagine, this process can easily cause delays if just one of the parties isn’t prompt with their responses.

FAQ Guide: DBS Check Stage 4

What to do if your DBS is stuck at stage 4?

If your DBS check is stuck at Stage 4, there’s nothing that can be done until it has been stuck at Stage 4 for 60 days, at which point it’s possible to make an official escalation to the DBS. At Aaron’s Department, our system does this automatically for any applications that reach the 60-day mark. The 60-day limit applies to all DBS applications and all Umbrella Bodies.

“Hardship” escalation requests can be made directly to the DBS by the applicant, in cases where the applicant is experiencing financial trouble due to their inability to start work without their check. If this is your situation, you can start the process by contacting the DBS on 03000 200 190.

DBS Check Stage 4 to Stage 5

Most DBS Checks are completed in a timely manner, and although delays are more likely, very few are actually delayed at Stage 4 in practice. Once Stage 4 is completed, Stage 5 involves the printing and postage of the completed certificate. If your certificate has not arrived within 14 days of reaching Stage 5, it’s a good idea to request a certificate reprint.

How Aaron’s Department Can Help

For all of your DBS requirements, Aaron’s Department is here to help. We offer fast-tracked, affordable, and error-proof DBS checks for employers – follow the link to read more about what we offer.

From 8:00am to 5:00pm weekdays, our Operations Team is available to help with any queries you may have. Give us a call on 0113 877 0171, or email contact@aaronsdepartment.com, and we’ll see what we can do for you!

Further Reading

We hope you have found our article, “FAQ Guide: DBS Check Stage 4” useful – we’ve linked below some of our other pages you might find helpful too.

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