How Long Are DBS Checks Valid For?
A growing number of jobs require DBS checks for new recruits these days. DBS stands for the Disclosure and Barring Service and refers to the organisation that processes and issues the results of criminal record searches.
Whether you are a job applicant that needs to submit a DBS application form or an employer that requests DBS certificates for certain roles, you may be wondering how long they are valid for. Many people ask the question, “Do DBS checks expire?”.
This article will help to answer that question, as well as take a closer look at when and how DBS checks should be renewed.
Do DBS Checks Ever Expire?
To put it simply – no, DBS checks don’t expire. The DBS certificate includes an issue date, but there is no expiry date stated.
So, why doesn’t the DBS add an expiry date to the DBS certificate? The reason is that the person could get a conviction added to their record at any time after the check has been processed, so in effect, the DBS certificate is just a snapshot of an individual’s criminal record on the date of issue.
Therefore, you could say that the DBS certificate expires as soon as it’s issued, as the individual can go and commit a crime the following day. The information expressed on the DBS certificate is only fully accurate on the issue date.
For this reason, most employers choose or are required to, request that employees renew their DBS certificate and frequent intervals.
How Often Should You Renew a DBS Check?
DBS checks are often carried out to fulfil safeguarding policies, especially when the role involves working with children or vulnerable adults. In these cases, the employer will need to make sure that people update their DBS checks periodically to ensure the safeguarding of those groups.
Other roles that may only require a basic DBS check, i.e. for activities that don’t have a safeguarding element to them, the frequency of renewal may be less or the employer may only require an initial check during the recruitment stage.
For safeguarding critical roles or DBS regulated activities, the employer or organisation should have a policy in place that defines how regularly DBS checks should be updated and renewed. Depending on the level of safeguarding required and nature of the roles, the DBS renewal timeframe may be anywhere between six months to three years.
Regulations and Safeguarding Policies
If the employer or organisation is regulated by bodies such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission, then there are strict guidelines in place to follow when it comes to DBS check renewal. The Ofsted and CQC websites offer the latest guidance on DBS certificate requirements.
Schools and nurseries should have wide-ranging safeguarding policies in place which comply with Ofsted rules and regulations. Ofsted regulations include the fact that all school and nursery staff that have direct unsupervised contact with children need to have regular enhanced DBS checks carried out.
Healthcare providers come under the purview of the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC guidelines state that any employee who works directly with children or vulnerable adults in a medical or healthcare setting needs to get an enhanced DBS check with barred list carried out. The employer is responsible for making sure that the DBS checks are renewed on a regular basis.
As well as regularly renewing DBS certificates, many employers also opt to request updates whenever a person changes roles or work activities with the same company or organisation. This is especially true if the individual moves from a role with no safeguarding responsibilities to one that involves working with children or vulnerable adults.
Although in purely technical terms DBS checks do not have an expiry date, most employers opt to renew employee’s DBS certificates at frequent intervals, especially for roles that require safeguarding.
Some regulatory bodies specify or issue guidelines on how often DBS checks should be renewed.
For regulated activities that require an enhanced DBS check, most employers request a renewal every 6 months to 2 years, or whenever an employee changes their role.
To find out more about DBS checks, including how to renew or update them, get in touch today.