DBS – FAQ’s

This page of our website gives further information around the most frequently asked questions we receive, we welcome the opportunity to add further questions and feedback to this section, if there is anything you would like adding please let us know.

When is a check required?

Employers are responsible for knowing when a job or volunteering role requires a DBS check. There are three levels of check:

basic (individuals can request their own basic checks direct from the DBS)
standard (via an umbrella body)
enhanced (via an umbrella body)

An employer can ask all job applicants to apply for a basic check during the recruitment process. Basic and Standard checks are not suitable for roles working with children or vulnerable adults.

An applicant must be 16 years of age or older to get a standard or enhanced check and they must apply through a DBS registered body via their employer.

Please refer to our Guidance and Documentation pages for further help and support.

How much does a check cost?

Please refer to our ‘Fees and Costs‘ information for guidance.

How do I request a check?

Once registered with the ARC Disclosure Service, your organisation is ‘set-up’ on our online DBS Assist system, an email will be sent to your nominated ‘Primary Contact’, giving details on how to access the system.  If you have provided details of ID checkers within your organisation, they will also be given access to DBS Assist and an email sent giving their login details and guidance.  Further guidance is available on our ‘How to register for DBS checks‘.

How long does it take to get a check processed?

This can differ from application to application. There are a number of factors that can affect the timely completion of checks, including but not restricted to, the accurate completion of the application, the clarity of the information provided, the existence of conviction or non-conviction information and the operational effectiveness of the Disclosure Units at the police forces involved in the Enhanced Disclosure process.  If the applicant has provided all the mandatory information, then a completion of the initial stages of the check is done within a matter of days.

How do I know when applications are complete?

When you log into the DBS Assist system you have access to all the applications that the ARC Disclosure Service have countersigned.  From the dashboard you will have access to applications ‘Processing’ and applications ‘Complete’.  Applications being processed have a tracking facility to see what stage the application is at.  Applications complete will show a status and issue an e-certificate.

Is there a minimum requirement on the number of checks per month?

No, there is no minimum requirement, you can process as many checks each month as you wish. You will be invoiced at the end of each month for the checks carried out for your organisation.

Do we have to be an ARC member to access your Disclosure Service?

No, you do not need to be an ARC member to use our Disclosure Service although you will benefit from reduced admin costs.  See our ‘Fees and Costs‘ information page.

What are Volunteer checks?

If you wish to carry out a check for a volunteer for your organisation, please refer to our ‘Fees and Costs‘ information for guidance.

When should we recheck our staff?

Employers can recheck their staff at their own discretion. It is up to the employer to decide if they want to have a re-checking policy and to decide the intervals for re-checking. Some employers recheck every two or three years. Others rely on employees declaring any changes to their criminal records. Some organisations refer to the guidelines issued from their Regulatory Body.

If criminal convictions are revealed on a disclosure certificate, the information is valid on the date the certificate is issued. An employer should check the date the certificate was issued to decide about getting a new one.

Can we keep copies of Disclosure Certificates?

Employers should not normally take or keep photocopies of an applicant’s certificate. If there is a business specific or appropriate reason for doing so, for example if there is a dispute or complaint, the employer must explain the reason and get the applicant’s permission.  Employers should not keep a certificate for longer than six months.  If it is considered necessary to keep the certificate information for longer, you should consult the DBS.  Further information is available from the DBS – Handling of DBS Certificate Information.

I need to process a check for a Transgender applicant, how do I do this?

The DBS offers a confidential checking process for transgender applicants.  This process is for transgender applicants who do not wish to reveal details of their previous identity to the person who asked them to complete an application form for a DBS check.

For more information about the transgender process, email sensitive@dbs.gov.uk or see the DBS Transgender Applications guidance.

What is the guidance for working with children or vulnerable adults?

For employed staff or volunteers in a role providing services to, or having close and regular supervision of children or vulnerable adults, applicants will normally need to apply for an enhanced check.  An enhanced check must be applied for through a registered body.

See guidance documents below …

If the position is home based, this must be recorded on the application and applies to:

an applicant carrying out some or all of the work with children or adults in their home   …
Home based occupations include:

child-minding
fostering
adoption

Detailed information is available on the DBS website – ‘Home-based position definition and guidance

What happens if an applicant looses their certificate?

The DBS will not provide a reprint of your certificate if:

  • the certificate has been accidentally lost or destroyed after you received it
  • the DBS certificate was issued more than 3 months ago (93 days).  A new DBS check will need to be submitted with the appropriate fee if a certificate is still needed
  • a reprint of the certificate has already been dispatched and the copy has not been received

The DBS will process your request if all of the following points apply:

  • your DBS certificate was issued over 14 days ago, but you haven’t received it. You can find out the date your certificate was issued on through online tracking
  • the reprint request has been made within 3 months (93 days) of the date of issue of your certificate
  • the address you request your certificate to be reprinted and sent to matches the address on your DBS application.

Detailed information is available on the DBS website – ‘DBS certificate reprint guidelines

The applicant has received their Disclosure Certificate but they think there is something wrong, what can they do?

If the applicant thinks that the information on their DBS certificate shouldn’t be there or is incorrect, they can raise a dispute by contacting the DBS, their website gives further guidance.

A dispute must be raised within 3 months of the certificate being issued.

Can I update my details while my application is in progress?

If you change your name or address, you can contact DBS to update these details. To do this, contact the DBS call centre on 0300 0200 190. We will ask some security questions to confirm your identity and take details of the change. Once the change has been made, we will notify the organisation that submitted your application that your details have been updated.

When your check is completed, we will issue your certificate with the new details. Please note – we will not be able to correct your information if an error was made in the original application. In this case, your application will be withdrawn, and you will need to submit a new one with the correct information.

If you have any questions, please email customerservices@dbs.gov.uk

How long do ARC retain applicants data for?

Please see the ADS – DBS Retention & Deletion Policy Feb 19 v 1.2 for further information.

What is the Employment History information for on an online application?

During the retention period for all online applications, certain data is deleted from the application at specified periods.  See  ADS- DBS Retention & Deletion Policy above.  At 24 month from application, the system will automatically remove the application from the system.   This can only happen if the employment history dates have been completed.