SAFECommunity Interest Company
Safer Activities For Everyone CIC
Chestnuts Farm • Langton Green • Eye • Suffolk • IP23 7HL • 01379 871091 • help@safecic.co.uk
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DBS Checks

Frequently Asked Questions about DBS Checks (Formerly CRB checks)

Please note, although we provide a DBS checking service, we are not the DBS. If you would like to contact the Disclosure and Barring Service, you can call 0870 90 90 811 or click here to visit their website.

We understand the process of DBS checking can be a complex issue and often leaves applicants and employers with a lot of questions. So our DBS Team have put their heads together to create this list of frequently asked questions and answers. If you can't find what you're looking for, or would like further information please give us a call on 01379 871091, use the link on the left to chat with us live, or email help@safecic.co.uk with your questions and we will do our best to help.

Did You Know?

If you or your organisation requires DBS checks, you will also require the appropriate safeguarding training. You can purchase safeguarding training by clicking here or find out what is required by clicking the quick reference flowchart below or its sector counterparts:

       General Business Best Practice Flowchart 
safeguarding-flowchart-smallnewvideographic

Click here for the dental sector flowchart. Click here for the education sector flowchart. Click here for the GP & PMS Flowchart

 


 DBS FAQ

Please note: This FAQ is designed for the organisations and applicants who are using (or who wish to use) SAFEcic's DBS Checking Service. If you are using a different DBS provider for your application, we would recommend that you contact that provider, or the DBS directly if you have any queries as we will be unable to assist you.

To contact the DBS: you can phone 0870 90 90 811 or click here to visit their website.

To purchase DBS checks click here

 General Queries:

Applicant FAQs

 

Filtering and the DBS Update Service FAQs:

 

What is a DBS check?

Previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check, a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a record of an individual's Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands and Warnings and can also include intelligence held by the police and/or the DBS that relates to that individual and their suitability for a job position.

What happened to the CRB and ISA?

On December 1st 2012, as part of the many changes brought about by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) closed and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was formed to take their place.

The DBS continues to be responsible for the functions previously carried out by the CRB and ISA with the exception of the ISA Registration Scheme, which has been discontinued.

Who Needs a DBS Check?

If there is ever a safeguarding issue within your organisation and the people working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults have not been adequately checked, your organisation could be held legally liable. To prevent this possibility SAFE advises DBS checks are conducted on all eligible staff and volunteers within your organisation.

SAFE has produced a guide to help you discover whether a position is eligible for a DBS check: Who should and who should not be DBS checked. Please note, this is a brief overview and should be read in tandem with current legislation.

To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

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Who can ask for a DBS check?

Organisations can request that their staff, volunteers or applicants have DBS checks only if the post they are working/volunteering/applying for is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Click here to see the DBS' own guide on the positions that are currently eligible for a DBS check. To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

How do I get myself DBS checked?

The purpose of a DBS check is to aid employers and organisations in a recruitment decision. As such, individuals cannot DBS check themselves: there must be an employer/recruiting organisation involved.

Individuals can, however, apply for a basic disclosure through Disclosure Scotland (Scotland, England and Wales) or Access NI (Northern Ireland) - a basic disclosure only shows unspent convictions.

Or, if you are individual and simply wish to know what information the police hold about you, you can complete a Subject Access form issued by the relevant police force. Please contact your local police service for further information. A police response to a subject access form cannot be used in place of a DBS check.

Do we have to DBS check our staff?

SAFE recommends that all eligible volunteers and workers within your organisation are DBS checked. To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

What types of checks are there?

There are four different levels of criminal record check available:

  • Basic checks: These can be requested by an individual or by the employer (with the applicant's permission) for any role. A basic check will show all unspent convictions. SAFEcic does not provide Basic checks as they are available directly from the issuing bodies Disclosure Scotland (suitable for applicants in Scotland, England and Wales) or Access NI (for applicants in Northern Ireland). This level of check is commonly referred to as a Basic CRB or DBS, however, the DBS/CRB does not provide this service.
  • Standard checks: These are suitable for eligible roles that do not involve regular contact with children or vulnerable groups such as finance or security. A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering.
  • Enhanced checks: These are suitable for eligible roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering with children, young people and/or vulnerable groups. An enhanced check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. Intelligence held by the police may also be included if the Police reasonably believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision.
  • Enhanced with DBS Barred List checks: These are suitable for roles where the applicant will be working/volunteering in a regulated activity with children and / or vulnerable adults. An enhanced check with DBS Barred list check will show the same information as an enhanced check along with any information held on the barred list(s) being checked.

To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

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How much do DBS checks cost?

Type of Credit Price
DBS checking service for volunteers (Standard or Enhanced) £12
Standard DBS checking service for paid positions £38
Enhanced DBS checking service for paid positions (with or without barred list checks) £56

 

Admin fees are included in the cost. Some applications may require external ID validation that will incur a one time fee of £10 per applicant, this is a service only available upon arrangement.

To purchase credits for our DBS checking service, click here.

How long does a DBS check take?

Once we receive a completed DBS form at our office, we will process it within 2 working days. If everything is OK, we will then forward the application on to the DBS.

The DBS aim to complete:

  • 75% of all applications within 14 calendar days from receipt
  • 90% of all applications within 28 calendar days from receipt
  • 99% of all applications within 60 calendar days from receipt

If you would like to follow the progress of your own or your volunteer/staff member's application once it is with the DBS, you can do so using the DBS tracking service.

How long does a CRB/DBS check last?

A DBS/CRB certificate is only truly accurate on the day it was issued. As such, there is no official expiration or renewal date for a DBS or CRB check. SAFE recommends that all DBS checks be renewed at least once every 3 years (or sooner if there has been a significant gap in employment) UNLESS the staff member/volunteer has subscribed to the DBS Update Service, in which case, the employer can check the update service regularly (with the applicant's permission) and will only need to ask for a new DBS check if the update service suggests that the individual's information has changed.

If you are a regulated organisation (i.e. CQC or Ofsted registered), your regulating body may already have guidance in place on the renewal of DBS checks and the use of the Update Service.

How do I get a CRB / DBS check for my Personal Licence?

You will need a basic disclosure for your personal licence. If you are in Scotland, England or Wales you can apply for a Basic Disclosure directly through Disclosure Scotland. If you are in Northern Ireland, you should apply for a basic disclosure through Access NI.

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What will show up on my DBS check?

The information shown on your DBS check will depend on the level of check that you apply for. There are three levels of DBS checks currently available:

A standard check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering.

An enhanced check will show any unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands along with any spent convictions and cautions that are not eligible for filtering. Intelligence held by the police may also be included if the Police reasonably believe it is pertinent to a recruitment decision*.

An enhanced check with DBS Barred list check will show the same information as an enhanced check along with any information held on the barred list(s) being checked (Children's, Adults' or Both).

Who will get a copy of my DBS certificate?

If your certificate was issued on, or after, June 17th 2013, only you will receive a copy or your certificate. This copy will be sent to the current address that you provided in section B of the application form. Certificates issued before this date will have been issued in duplicate, one copy would be sent to your current address and one copy sent to our DBS team here at SAFEcic.

Where do I have to send my ID and form?

Please send your completed form and the relevant ID to our office at:

SAFEcic, Chestnuts Farm, Langton Green, Eye, Suffolk, IP23 7HL

Do I have to send you my ID?

We have a responsibility to verify the identity of all our applicants, this means that you will have to send us your ID with your application form.

To verify an applicant's identity, we have to follow the Routes of Identification as laid out by the DBS. Further information can be found here (opens new window).

Can you accept photocopies?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept photocopies or documents printed from your computer, we must see the original document and it must have been issued by the relevant organisation.

i.e. we cannot accept an online bank statement printed off by an applicant, but we can accept a paper statement issued directly by the bank.

What do you do with my ID?

We use the documents to verify the information you have provided on your form. On the same working day that we receive them, we return your documents to the return address specified. If there is no return address, we return the documents to the current address as supplied on the DBS application form. We send all Identity Documents using Royal Mail, Second Class Recorded Delivery.

If you would like us to use Royal Mail's 'Special Delivery' service, please include a prepaid special delivery envelope with your documents.

Please note: DBS certificates are issued by the DBS (not SAFEcic) and will be sent 2nd class to your home address as specified in section B of your application form. The certificate can not be sent by any other delivery method or to any other address.

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What happens once you have my form?

Once we have your form, we will use your ID documents to verify the information you have provided and then return your ID to you. If we require further ID or information, we will contact you.

Once we have everything we need, we will sign off your form and forward it to the DBS. The DBS aim to complete process 75% of all applications within 14 days and 99% of applications within 60 days.

The DBS will then issue your DBS certificate and send it second class to the address you have supplied on your application form.

I can't supply enough ID, what do I do now?

Please get in touch if you are having difficulty providing Identity documents, we will work with you to try and find the best solution.

I've lost/accidentally damaged my certificate, can you replace it?

Unfortunately, we cannot replace lost certificates.

I haven't received my certificate yet?

If you would like to follow the progress of your application once it is with the DBS, you can do so using the DBS' own tracking service. This will show you at what stage your application is in. If your application has been in 'Stage 4' for more than 60 days, please get in touch and we will submit a formal escalation request to the DBS on your behalf.

If your certificate has been printed and you haven't received your copy within two weeks, we would advise you to contact the DBS directly on 0870 90 90 811.

I've changed my address since my last DBS check, how do I update my details?

Unfortunately, there is no way to change the details shown on a DBS certificate. Currently, the only way to have your new information show on a certificate is to undergo a new DBS check.

Can my employer keep my certificate?

They can with your permission, however the certificate is your property and there is no need for an employer to retain or photocopy a DBS certificate. 

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What is Filtering?

Filtering or 'weeding' is the process the DBS use to determine whether information should be removed from a person's DBS certificate before it is printed.

Filtering of Convictions

If an applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of the offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

  • It has been 11 or more years since the date of conviction, and
  • the applicant has not commited any other offence, and
  • the conviction did not result in a custodial sentence, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding (found here).

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the conviction will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if it meets the following requirements:

  • It has been 5.5 or more years since the date of conviction, and
  • the applicant only has one conviction offence, and
  • the conviction did not result in a custodial sentence, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding (found here).

Filtering of Cautions

If the applicant was an adult (18+) at the time of offence, the caution will be elgible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

  • It has been 6 or more years since the date of caution, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding (found here).

If the applicant was under the age of 18 at the time of offence, the caution will be eligible for filtering (removal from the DBS certificate) if:

  • It has been 2 or more years since the date of caution, and
  • the offence does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding (found here).

NB prior to May 29th 2013, nothing was filtered from an applicant's certificate. This change to procedure and the introduction of Filtering came about as a result of a Court of Appeal ruling in January 2013 which allowed for new legislation to be introduced.

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What is the DBS Update Service?

The DBS update service is a yearly subscription service provided directly by the DBS for applicants. Currently the service costs £13 per applicant per year (or free for volunteers).

If the DBS applicant subscribes to the service (this must be done around the time of their application) their DBS information will be securely stored online, allowing the applicant or their employer to check the status of the certificate at any time. Instead of renewing DBS applications every few years, employers will only have to request a new DBS check be undertaken if the update service shows information has changed (or if they require a different level of check).

The service is fully portable - allowing applicants to carry their certificate between different employments, providing the new employment is in the same workforce and requires the same level of check.

If you would like to know more, you can visit the DBS Update Service page, or check out these informational youtube videos launched by the DBS: found here (for employers) and here (for applicants).

 

How do I sign up for the Update Service?

You can sign up to the update service on the DBS website when you make your next DBS application. Applicants can subscribe prior to submitting an application as long as they have their application form number (found in the top right corner of the front page, starting 'F0...'). However, SAFE recommends that the applicant waits until the DBS has received the application before subscribing, as the application form may be replaced or delayed before submission to the DBS.

To check whether the DBS have received an application form, and to check it's subsequent progress, you can use the DBS tracking service found here.

Once a DBS certificate has been issued, the applicant has 19 days left to subscribe. Subscribing after a certificate has been issued can be done using the certificate number (found in the top right of the certificate, starting '001...').

 

Can I add an old certificate to the update service

Unfortunately no, only applications that have been received by the DBS on or after June 17th 2013 will be eligible for the Update Service and those applications can only be added to the update service if they are registered before (or within 19 days of) the certificate being issued.

 

Can I sign up my staff for the Update Service?

No, your staff must decide for themselves whether they would like to use the update service. Only the applicant should register their application/certificate.

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Do you provide the Update Service?

The update service is provided and managed by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), to subscribe to the update service, applicants must do so directly through the DBS and not through SAFEcic.

When can I use the Update Service to check my personnel?

To check a person's details using the update service, that person must have:

  • Subscribed to the Update Service, and
  • Added the certificate in question to the Update Service

AND you must have:

  • That person's permission, and
  • a legal right to see the level of check that person has received*.

*For instance, if your member of staff has received an enhanced check with adults barred list check, but you are only legally entitled to see an enhanced check (with no barred list checks), you should not use the update service and should instead ask the person to apply for a new DBS check at the appropriate level.

How do I use the Update Service to check my personnel's DBS certificates?

If the applicant has subscribed to the Update Service and you have their permission, DBS certificate information and are lawfully entitled to their DBS information, log on to the Update Service here and enter your details, once you click through, you will be prompted to provide the information for the DBS certificate you wish to check. You will then be shown the status of that certificate.

The status shown will be one of the following:

  • This certificate did not reveal any information and remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue: Meaning no criminal or barring information is shown on the certificate, and that no new information has come to light since it's issue - you can still accept the certificate and will not need to request a new check.
  • This certificate remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue: Meaning the certificate does hold criminal/barring information but no new information has come to light since it's issue - You will need to see the certificate and perform a risk assesment on the information shown, however, you will not need to request a new DBS check.
  • This certificate is no longer current. Please apply for a new DBS check to get the most up to date information: Meaning you should request a new DBS check to be completed before proceeding. If the DBS certificate is no longer current, it can be for a variety of reasons and a recruitment decision should not be made until you have had sight of the new DBS certificate.
  • The details entered do not match those held on our system. Please check and try again. Meaning you will need to double check the information you have entered is correct and try again. If you get the same result, it's possible the certificate is not held on the update system and cannot be checked.

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