5 Stages Of A DBS Check
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is part of the Home Office and was created in 2012 by merging the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The DBS provide companies and other organisations a means to vet potential staff members as well as associated contractors and volunteers.
The most common questions those of us at The Check People receive on a daily basis are “How do DBS checks work?” and “What are the 5 stages of a DBS check?” The following guide is intended to answer both questions.
The first stage of the DBS application process involves recognition by the DBS that they have received and validated the application. If there are any problems with the application itself, it will be rejected at this point.
Once validated, the application is checked against the Police National Computer (PNC) system. The PNC is comprised of several databases which contain information gathered by various law enforcement agencies in the UK. These databases contain up-to-date information on convictions, (both spent and unspent), arrest warrants, cautions, official reprimands, and more. If a Standard Check only was requested the process now skips to Stage 5. Otherwise, it continues to Stage 3.
If the position requires an Enhanced DBS check, the police will be queried on any information regarding the applicant they feel might be relevant to the position in question. This may include information that did not necessarily lead to a criminal conviction, but which the police believe indicates caution is warranted. It is up to the police to decide what information, if any, to supply in response to the Enhanced DBS check. Although any information must conform to guidelines established by the Quality Assurance Framework.
Stage 4 occurs when an organisation has applied for an Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List. This type of DBS check entails checking the applicant against a collection of barred lists maintained by the DBS. Note that not every position which requires an Enhanced DBS check requires the applicant to be checked against these barred lists.
The organisation making the DBS application must specifically request the barred list check if the applicant will be engaged in regulated activity. Examples of regulated activity include teaching or providing guidance to children and caring for vulnerable adults. If the position in question does not entail regulated activity, it is illegal for companies or organisations to request a barred list check.
Exactly how long it will take for an application to work its way through stages 3 and 4 cannot be stated with any authority. In some cases, it may only take a few weeks. In other cases, it may take eight weeks or longer. Reasons an application may be delayed include:
- The person has moved several times.
- The applicant has not been forthcoming regarding past convictions.
- The applicant has legally changed his or her name.
- An error was made when providing an address.
- A particular police department may be busy or short-staffed.
This is the final stage of the DBS check process and entails sending printed copies of the completed certificate to the requesting organisation and the applicant.
Please note that individuals and organisations may not request a DBS check directly. Instead, they must request a check through a registered company such as The Check People. Prices will also vary depending on the type of check and the type of position. Finally, it is recommended that organisations request periodic checks on new hires or volunteers in order to ensure something did not slip under the radar after the initial check was completed.