Why Is My DBS Stuck at Stage 4?


Introduction – Why Is My DBS Stuck At Stage 4?

We get this question a lot: “Why is my DBS stuck at stage 4?” The vast majority of DBS applications are completed and posted within 2 weeks of being sent to the DBS, but not all, unfortunately.

The most common reason for applications being held up is that the applicant has had many previous addresses within the past 5 years. Every UK police force whose jurisdiction they’ve lived under has to conduct their own checks, and if one is held up, the whole process stops.


Stages of a DBS Application

The flowchart below shows the different stages of the DBS application process. Stage 4 is where the vast majority of DBS delays originate:

DBS Check stage 4


Why Is My DBS Stuck at Stage 4?


Slow Local Police Force(s)

Stage 4 of a DBS check is carried out by the UK’s various police forces. Some forces are experiencing delays, so if an applicant’s 5-year address history falls under any of the following’s jurisdictions, delays are more likely (but not inevitable). As of January 2024, these are:

  • Derbyshire
  • Dyfed-Powys
  • Hampshire
  • Kent
  • Northumbria
  • North Yorkshire
  • Sussex


Previous Addresses

The main reason DBS applications get stuck at Stage 4 is due to the applicant having many previous addresses. During a DBS check, the local police force for each address will have to check their records – so having more addresses increases the likelihood that one of them is being checked by a tardy police force.


Common Names

Common names can also cause problems, for example, there are over 6000 people called David Smith living in the UK. If an applicant has a common name, then each police force has to take extra measures to ensure any information they have on-file is for the right person.


What can be done to speed up my DBS check?

If you are wondering, “Why is my DBS stuck at stage 4?” you obviously want to know what can be done to speed it up. Unfortunately, nothing can be done unless a check has been stuck at one stage for over 60 days – at this point, the applicant or their employer can contact the DBS on 03000 200 190 to request an escalation.

Please bear in mind that this limit applies to all Umbrella Bodies, not just Aaron’s Department.


Hardship Requests

It’s possible to convince the DBS to raise an escalation in advance of this 60-day limit if the applicant is experiencing financial hardship due to their inability to legally start working until the DBS check is returned. The applicant must contact the DBS on 03000 200 190 and mention that they are struggling, and the DBS will ask for proof such as letters from the employer, bank statements, etc.

This is not guaranteed to work, and it is not clear what the DBS’s threshold for “hardship” is, exactly.


What If Nothing Happens to my DBS Check?

If, after the 60-day escalation has been raised, a further 10 working days pass and the check has still not been completed, another escalation can be made.

Your DBS provider (hopefully Aaron’s Department!) should contact the DBS to find which police force is responsible for the delay. We will then contact the police force directly and request they complete the check. To give you an idea of how frequently this happens, Aaron’s Department processes thousands of applications every month, but we make less than 10 of these calls each year.

The flowchart below shows what we can do when your DBS check is stuck at Stage 4:

Why is my DBS check stuck at stage 4


How can I tell what stage my application is at?


Online Tracking

The DBS hosts a tracking service, which you can log into using your customer reference number and a few personal details – you can read more about it here. Please bear in mind that a Basic DBS checks use a different tracking platform to Standard & Enhanced checks. Below, we’ve included some screenshots of the DBS’s tracking platforms.


Aaron’s Department Account Tracking

If you have an account with Aaron’s Department, you can automatically log in to the government’s tracker to view your application’s progress. If you’re an employer, you can do this for all your staff checks too!


Aaron’s Department’s Update Emails

Aaron’s Department users receive an email whenever a DBS application progresses to the next stage.


Standard & Enhanced Check Online Tracking

Why Is My DBS Stuck at Stage 4? DBS Tracking


Basic Check Online Tracking

Why Is My DBS Stuck at Stage 4? DBS Tracking


Summary – Why Is My DBS Stuck at Stage 4?

In summary, if your DBS application is stuck at Stage 4, there are a few common reasons for the check being “stuck”, such as having various previous addresses, or names.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to speed things up unless the application has been stuck in Stage 4 for 60 days – unless the applicant is experiencing acute financial hardship due to their inability to start working without a check.


Do you need DBS checks for your staff?

Aaron’s Department offers a quick, easy, error-proof,and very affordable DBS application platform.

No DBS Umbrella Body can influence how long a check will take once it’s with the DBS – that’s why we process every check we receive before 4:00pm on a weekday, the very same day (for no extra charge!). It’s our free fast-track guarantee.

After all, the sooner we process your application, the sooner your results will come back!


Further ReadingWhy Is My DBS Stuck At Stage 4

If you have found our article, “Why Is My DBS Stuck At Stage 4?” helpful, check out these related posts below:


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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Hakeem Ali
Hakeem Ali
3 years ago

Hi I’m applying for a care home job and my dbs form has nearly been 2 weeks now and hasn’t come back yet

Aaron's Department
Aaron's Department
Reply to  Hakeem Ali
3 years ago

Hi Hakeem,

As DBS checks differ in how long they take to complete depending on the information they need to check, yours may be taking slightly longer than the norm. We would recommend that you get in contact with the company you did the DBS Check through, and they should be able to assist you further.

Thanks – The Aaron’s Department team.

Bob Robson
Reply to  Hakeem Ali
1 year ago

Lucky you! Mine has now been 8 weeks!
Absolutely appalling service.
Is it any wonder that there are apparently 3 million unfilled vacancies in the country when many will be occupations that require a DBS?
I am asking for my money back as I feel they have not provided the service charged for.

Anna
Anna
2 years ago

Hi ya I’ve sent my dbs on the 29th September and it’s now stuck in stage 4 since 9th October can you please help its been nearly 6 weeks

Aaron's Department Team
Aaron's Department Team
Reply to  Anna
2 years ago

Hi Anna,

As DBS checks differ in how long they take to complete depending on the information they need to check, this application could take slightly longer than the norm.

We’d recommend that you get in contact with the company you did the DBS Check through, and they should be able to assist you further with your application.

Thanks,
Aaron’s Department

Natalie
Natalie
Reply to  Aaron's Department Team
2 years ago

Hi Anna

I’m having the same problem, I did mine in 1oct and its still on stage 4. Has yours gone through yet?

Sophia
Sophia
2 years ago

Hello,
I work as a agency nurse.
My agency has applied for my DBS but this is the 2nd time that it is kept in stage 4 then sadly withdrawn.
I have asked and called everywhere I can to find out the reason but I never get any information on they regards.
How do I know if they are applying correctly ( right name… house door..ect) it’s obviously that something is not correctly filed in but what? I have also contacted RB but they never give me a answer on the cause.
Could someone please help me!!
I have been without working for 2 months now.
Thank you

Oliver
Admin
Reply to  Sophia
2 years ago

Hi Sophia,

Thank you for your question.

If an application is withdrawn, there is usually a reason for it. Some of these include if a mistake has been made on the application, or if there is a problem with the information on it. Another is if the identity has been called into question and documents have not been supplied.

Those are just some of the reasons why, but to find out why yours has specifically, you will only be able to do this by getting in touch with the registered body you did the check through. If you are having problems with this, or they are not helping, then you can get in contact directly with the Disclosure and Barring Service on 03000 200 190.

Thank you,
Aaron’s Department

Cbb
Cbb
2 years ago

Hi,
I have had poor mental health in the past where police have attended, would this show? I have never committed any crimes and I’m certain that aspect will be completely clear.
In addition, due to poor mental health my children were and still residing in foster care (the aim that they’ll be returning home shortly due to
my stabilisation of mental health). Would something like this, involvement with Social Care show up on an enhanced DBS when it is for a job within the care sector, working with individuals with dementia?
I am becoming pretty anxious about it if completely honest and would appreciate answers so thank you in advance.

Oliver
Admin
Reply to  Cbb
2 years ago

Hi,

This would all depend on the situation surrounding what has gone on. Things like this are dealt with on a case to case basis, and there isn’t a straightforward one-size-fits-all answer.

It would entirely depend on what the police force deems relevant towards your Enhanced DBS check in relation to the role you will undertake.

Should you wish to contact the DBS office directly, you can do so on 03000 200 190.

Thank you,
Aaron’s Department

Simon
Simon
2 years ago

I got offered an health care assistant role on the 7th April and was hoping to start ASAP but obviously I have had a Enhanced DBS check. I found out that it was on stage 4 on the 21st April and now it’s the 9th May. I am slightly frustrated because I’m just stuck at home desperate to start. Why is it taking so long. I have never committed any serious crimes

Donna
Donna
1 year ago

Still waiting my dbs been nearly 2 months .

Mrs Lisa M Ashcroft
Mrs Lisa M Ashcroft
Reply to  Donna
1 year ago

2 month I’ve. Been waiting no criminal record same address for 18 years had one 4 years ago new job requirement they put it thru still waiting not happy bills cost of living and Xmas looks bleak without it

Andy
Andy
1 year ago

Because this is UK everything is slow and people are too lazy. Don dbs check in America, take less than 2 weeks. UK is Rippof

Kaydan
Kaydan
1 year ago

Hiya I’ve applied for my dbs 2 weeks ago and it’s still not arrived and I’m only 16

Sophie
Sophie
1 year ago

Hello, my name is Sophie. I have waited a long time for my DBS now I just wondered how long it would take

Magda osman
Magda osman
1 year ago

I’ve been waiting 6weeks for my enhanced dbs still on stage 4

Daniel Goitom
Daniel Goitom
1 year ago

I am applying for the private hire taxi dbs it has been four months still in the progress I don’t know how long it will take it?

Angela Lock
Angela Lock
1 year ago

My dbs is at stage 4 I applied for one early Feb

Richard
Richard
1 year ago

This is a ridiculous timescale, with the technology police have available to them there is absolutely no reason for people to have to sit around waiting for somebody to click a button, DBS needs to shorten the window from 60 days, for many thats 60 days without money and the cost of living is insanely high as it is. Give the police 10 days to do there very simple job then chase them for an answer. Theres no excuse for incompetence.

Chloe
Chloe
Reply to  John Schofield-Antoncich
5 months ago

Well I’ve phoned DBS up many of times as I’ve been waiting for my DBS to come back since 21st October and it’s now 31st December. Every time I call them up all they say it how long it been at stage 4 which I know as that one thing I did learn at school is how to count.

RIta
RIta
1 year ago

Hello,

I have been tracking my DBS and its on dispatch since 17th of March 2023. I have not received it till now.

Please what can i do.

Thanks.

Sarah
Sarah
1 year ago

I declared an in10 driving without insurance could this be holding it up? It’s been on stage four for 8 weeks and if I apply again should I leave the in10 off the application?

Racheal jane ward
Racheal jane ward
1 year ago

Why is my dbs taking so long

Samantha baker
Samantha baker
1 year ago

My is DBs is up to 10 weeks 4 days now

puskar dahal
puskar dahal
1 year ago

I am waiting for DBS since 4 weeks. agency applied my application and made error misspelt in my last name. now its stuck in stage 4. what should i do? how can i speed up ?please help me.

Ian Riches
1 year ago

It’s unbelievable it’s actually preventing people from working. Been stuck on stage 4 since 4th April now 19th of May. Never been in trouble with police in my life why should it take so long for the police to do this for gods sake. Been at my address 18 months and previous 5 years so not hard to find me.

Matthew Dugdale
Reply to  Ian Riches
1 year ago

Hi Ian,

I’ve had a look and can see your application hasn’t been done with us. Whichever Registered Body you or your employer applied through should chase up the application after it has been at Stage 4 for 60 days.

Michelle allan
Michelle allan
11 months ago

Hi im wondering why my dbs is taken so long on stage 4. Ive never had a name change. Ive also lived at the same address for 13 years. Yet these are ment to be. The reasons why there stuck. I dont get it

Claire Hayward
Claire Hayward
10 months ago

Hi I’m having the same problem I sent my DBS on the 21st June and it’s stuck at stage 4. I’ve started a new job in a care home and now they have put my training on hold, I’m very frustrated I have no money I have done care for 10 years so it was just a quick transfer I’m beginning to loose my patience.

Mia
Mia
7 months ago

Hello, I’ve been waiting for my enhanced dbs for nhs jobs for 70days! It’s crazy

Dumitru Rus
7 months ago

Hello, I did apply for my DBS check in 12 of October and I’m still waiting for it, now we are in 22 November . I need an enhanced one . All of this being said I do have a question; I did apply for a basic one and it came clear, is there any possibility that the enchanted one to be different?

Kellie Dawson
Reply to  Dumitru Rus
7 months ago

Hi Dumitru,

I’ve had a look and can see your application hasn’t been done with us. Whichever Registered Body you or your employer applied through should chase up the application after it has been at Stage 4 for 60 days.
Regarding the information disclosed on a check, the information disclosed on a Basic DBS Check and an Enhanced DBS Check will be different due to the levels of disclosure. A Basic DBS Check will only disclose unspent convictions and conditional cautions, whereas an Enhanced DBS Check will disclose Spent and Unspent convictions as well as any information that the local police force deems relevant for disclosure.

I hope this helps.

Stella Maina
Stella Maina
5 months ago

My DBS being stuck on stage 4 since November 2023. Please can help. I had done another DBS last year October 2022,so don’t understand why its taking so long.