When Do DBS Checks Run Out?
A common query we get is – do DBS Checks expire? It’s a good question, as it isn’t all that obvious when you look at a DBS certificate. The only date that is printed on the certificate is the date of issue.
Therefore, both organisations and individuals are often confused about how long DBS Checks last.
In this brief guide, we’ll take a look at whether DBS Checks expire and how often they should be renewed.
When do DBS Checks expire?
In a nutshell, DBS Checks never actually expire. But, why is there no actual expiry date for a DBS Check?
The reason is that the details listed on a DBS Certificate by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are only valid on the date of issue. After that date, other convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands may be added to an individual’s criminal record that won’t be shown on the printed certificate.
In other words, after the issue date, the status of a person’s criminal record is unknown until another DBS Check is performed.
Therefore, for safeguarding and security reasons, an employer should request a new DBS Check at frequent intervals to make sure that there aren’t any new offences recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) database.
Organisations and employers need to decide what frequency to request a new DBS Check based on the role type, internal policies, and guidance from the government. In general, for roles that include safeguarding elements, DBS Checks should be renewed every six months to two years. For some job roles, such as teachers and doctors, you are legally obliged to get a new DBS Check within this timescale.
If you need to find out how long ago your DBS Certificate was issued, it will be printed on the document as a ‘date of issue’.
Regulatory Requirements for DBS Checks
For DBS Checks, there are legal obligations set out by some regulatory bodies such as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).
Ofsted asks teachers, and others that work in direct contact with children in schools, to get an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check, which is the highest level of criminal background check in the UK. This needs to be kept up-to-date and renewed at least once every two years.
If you’re changing roles, Ofsted may accept older DBS certificates, but you would usually be asked to update it as soon as possible.
The CQC also request that people who are engaged in roles that involve safeguarding responsibilities get a DBS Check. If the role is a regulated activity, then they will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check. The individual employers are responsible for getting the DBS Checks submitted and managed.
Any regulatory bodies that require a DBS Check to cover certain roles, will have guidelines published to help employers follow the rules. They can usually be found on the website of each organisation.
Sometimes, when a person changes their job role within a single organisation, they are legally obliged to apply for a new DBS Check if it involves shifting from working with children to working with vulnerable adults, for instance (or vice versa).
A Summary of DBS Expiration and Renewal Rules
As we said at the beginning of this article – DBS don’t actually expire.
Instead, a data of issue is printed on the DBS Certificate and the details are only valid on that day. This is due to the fact that convictions, cautions, etc. can be added to a person’s criminal record at any point after that date and it will not be reflected on the certificate.
In general, there is no official validity period for a DBS Check, but many regulatory bodies and organisations have safeguarding policies in place that define how often they should be renewed. Many employers want a new DBS Check when a person changes job roles.
A DBS Check should be renewed when:
- Required for safeguarding reasons, such as working with children or vulnerable adults.
- There is legislation in place that means frequent renewal is a legal obligation, such as in the case of regulated activities that legally require an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check.
- A regulatory body requires that DBS Checks are frequently renewed.
The DBS offers a convenient DBS update service that allows employers to check people’s DBS certificate status and renew them more cheaply when changing roles.
If you would like to find out more about DBS Checks and the rules around getting them renewed, then get in touch with one of our expert advisors today.
You can also apply directly for DBS Checks through our online portal.