We know – DBS checks can be confusing. The process for getting police checks done has changed several times over the years, leading to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. If you’re not sure of the best way to apply for your disclosure check then we’re here to help. We’ll run through some of the most common things we’ve heard and tell you whether they’re true, or false.
You can pass or fail DBS checks.
False. You’ll regularly hear people talk about having passed their DBS checking, or being worried about failing. DBS certificates don’t have the word “pass” or the word “fail” printed on them. A DBS certificate is a statement of fact, showing what there is on your police record. It’s up to the employer to look at that information and decide whether to employ you or not. When people mention failing checks, it’s probably because they know that they have issues in their past which could raise concerns with an employer.
Employers decide who they want to run checks on.
False again. It’s the government which draws up the list of the types of occupations which need DBS checks. This is termed “regulated activity”. If you’re working in one of those jobs then you will have a check. If not, you won’t. It’s an offence for employers to DBS check workers who don’t need checks.
You can start work while waiting for your DBS check.
True. Well, partly. Employers have discretion over whether or not they let you start work without your DBS check. This will depend on the role you will be doing. Employers can ask for a very quick check of the Barred Lists, and if that’s clear, you can start work pending a full check. Other employers might allow applicants to work under supervision, or do training until their certificate arrives. Each company has its own policies about this.
Getting a DBS certificate takes forever.
False. Delays in the DBS system have certainly made headlines in the past. However, figures show that performance is improving across the country. DBS certificates are being turned around quicker than a couple of years ago. You can also do your bit to speed your application along by taking care to complete the form in full. Be prompt when asked to show your identity documents too.
DBS certifcates expire after two years.
False. There is no expiry date written on any DBS certificate. Some employers might ask staff to get a new DBS check every two or three years, but this is their policy rather than a legal requirement.
DBS Update is worth the money.
True. We think so anyway. DBS Update is a subscription service which keeps your data current after you have your first check. The annual subscription fee is much less than the cost of getting another check done. Therefore, if you’re the sort of person who moves jobs often, paying the fee to be a member of DBS Update could save you significant money and time in the long run.