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We all know what DBS checks are, but what is the process?

Thousands of criminal record checks are processed every year in the UK as part of the recruitment process.

It is common knowledge that a DBS check acts as a safeguarding tool and is used for analysis to record a person’s past and which will ultimately determine whether a candidate will be recruited for a job role. However, the process of a criminal record check seems somewhat ambiguous for people and can cause much confusion and frustration. We have therefore created a breakdown of the DBS process.

  1. Once the employer has saved all applicant’s information and approved an application, it will transfer immediately to the team at Care Check who will review the application and check for any amendments. We will then countersign the application.
  2. The application will be queued for transfer to the DBS on the next available transfer slot, which take place three times daily at 10am, 12pm and 6pm. For basic checks, the transfer times are slightly different and have only two transfer times of 8am and 2pm.
  3. Once the application transfers to the DBS, it will encounter five stages before the application can complete.
  4. 1st stage: the application form is received and validated by the DBS.
  5. 2nd stage: The application is sent to the Police National Computer (PNC). This is a computer system used by law enforcement organisations all over the UK and consists of several databases available 24 hours a day which gives access to information of national and local significance.
  6. 3rd stage: If an applicant is being checked for working with vulnerable groups in regulated activity, stage 3 will be implemented. Examples of workforce include care assistants, nurses and teachers to name a few. It will check against the Adults’ barred list, the Children’s barred list or both. If an individual is checked against the children’s barred lists, then there will be a search to see if there is a match on the List 99 register. The list 99 register is a list of men and women who are barred from working by the Department of Education and Skills (DfES).
  7. 4th Stage: The application is now in process with the police. Exact timescales cannot be given due to every application being dissimilar. However, there are several reasons why an application could potentially be delayed. Typically, if an individual has not disclosed a past conviction, the application could take longer as the police will have further enquiries on the application and will be unable to proceed until they have full information. Similarly, if an applicant has made an error with an incorrect address or name, the police would have additional queries and this would cause a delay in the application completing. Conversely, there are several police forces that do have a backlog of applications, which can take several weeks to complete their searches.
  8. 5th Stage: The certificate is in the final stage of printing and will be routinely distributed to applicants the following day. Please note, a certificate can take up to 14 days to reach an applicant address. If you have not received your certificate, please call the DBS directly on 03000 200 190 and they will be able to organise a reprint for you.

How can Care Check make the process speedier for you?

We understand it is frustrating when an application is delayed as people need to work and earn a living.

Care Check are committed to providing an efficient service and therefore when an application has been in process with the police for longer than 60 days, we automatically contact the DBS to raise an escalation on the application. This can take up to 14 days.

However, if after 14 days, there has still been no progress we then periodically write to the police force that it is being held with to determine what is causing the delay. Care Check ensure that an application is continually chased until completion ensues.

If you have any questions surround the DBS tracking process, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0333 777 8575 and we will be happy to answer any questions.

Looking to apply for a DBS Check? Individuals can easily apply for a Basic DBS Check here. Organisations can get registered here