Until 2009, all DBS applications were processed via a paper format. This was a lengthy process and caused many delays for employers. After the launch of the online DBS portal, many companies transferred to the online processing tool and currently 80 per cent of DBS applications in the UK are now being processed through online umbrella bodies such as Care Check.

The online application system has made the DBS process far speedier and more efficient. However, mistakes still commonly occur and this can result in applications taking far longer to process with the DBS because internal queries would need to be resolved before a check can complete.

To ensure an application is processed as fast as possible, we have detailed the most common mistakes that are made when completing a DBS application form so you can avoid these simple errors.

1. Previous names not provided

If an applicant has ever had any previous names- including surnames, middle names or forenames – they must declare it on the application form. Additional documentation should also be provided to support their name changes as this forms part of the ID verification.

If the applicant cannot provide sufficient documentation to support the name change, we advise you to have an official meeting with them to ascertain why they cannot validate their identity.

2. Address history is incomplete

Every applicant must provide a full five-year address history with the ‘from’ and ‘to’ dates given in the correct format – all addresses must follow each other accordingly. Please note that there should no be gaps in between addresses.

Fortunately, if an applicant fails to input the address history correctly, our system will prevent the application from proceeding any further. This ensures mistakes are prevented, however, you will need to have all address information to continue with the application.

3. Surname is incorrectly spelt

It is a common occurrence for applicants to input their surname incorrectly.

Once the applicant has completed their application form, they will need to confirm that all personal details are correct. A member of HR will also re-check all personal details when doing the ID verification.

It is a very easy mistake to make so please check all details.

4. Date of birth is different to previous applications

If an applicant has entered the wrong date of birth when filling out their application, it is down to the employer to ensure this is correct when verifying the ID documents.

It may be worth contacting the applicant before changing the date of birth on the application  as often it is not the application that is incorrect, but the identity document.

It is always best to check that all details are correct before submitting an application.

5. Convictions not declared

Very often applicants choose not to disclose criminal convictions on their application form because they believe it has become spent; some even forget that they ever had a sentence imposed.

Not disclosing a conviction can cause delays in the application process. Internal enquiries would need to be made to ensure the candidate is suitable for the role they have applied for and can legally work with certain individuals.

Some convictions may have become spent, but due to the nature of certain job roles, the chief operating officer of a police force would deem it appropriate to disclose past convictions. This is likely if an individual would be working with young children in a school or elderly people in a residential home.

Conversely, some people do not like to disclose their convictions because they feel it would deter an employer from hiring them, however, it must be noted that a conviction may appear on a completed DBS certificate so it is advisable to be honest with your employer and inform them during the interview process about any past sentences.

If you do have a conviction that has become spent, you do not necessarily need to disclose the information, however, it may be worth informing your employer of your previous conviction if you are going to be working with vulnerable adults or children.