Why Is My DBS Check Taking So Long To Complete?
If your job involves coming into contact, or working directly with vulnerable adults or children, then a DBS check may be required before starting in the role.
A DBS check is a criminal background check that allows an employer to determine if an individual is suitable to work directly with these vulnerable groups.
As you can imagine, there is a high demand for DBS checks as many people work in hospitals, schools, care homes, etc. In most cases, DBS checks can be processed and completed in a relatively short period, especially when applied for online. But there are times that the application may take longer to process.
How long does a DBS check usually take?
The time it takes to complete a DBS check depends on a number of different factors, such as the current workload of the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), the workload of the local police force, the accuracy of the information given (such as address history), and if there has been a recent name change. Assuming all goes well, the estimated completion time for a DBS check is around 5-10 days.
Since employees often need to wait for their DBS certificate before moving forward with the job application or starting in a role, applicants and employers cannot afford to wait for weeks.
For that reason, the DBS offers guidance on how to apply for a DBS check in a way that will give you the best chance of receiving your certificate in good time.
Understanding the following 5 stages and the corresponding advice helps to make the process more efficient.
The 5 stages Of A DBS Application Process
Stage 1 – Filling In The Application Form
Before the DBS can check anything, they need information. This is the part that involves the applicant being careful to give the correct information. One of the most important sections to get right on the application form is the address history. You should provide all of your addresses going back over the past 5 years, without any gaps or errors.
Stage 2 – The Police National Computer (PNC) Search
The DBS will use the information and details given on the application form. Then they use it to run a search of the PNC database for any possible matches. The PNC database reveals details of convictions and offences. However, the amount of details revealed depends on the level of the DBS check.
Stage 3 – Barred Lists Check
A barred list check is stage 3 of the process, but it isn’t always necessary. DBS barred list checks are done when the role is a regulated activity. A barred list is simply a list of people that are barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. The applicant’s details are checked against the children’s barred list or the adult’s barred list and if a match is found, they won’t be allowed to work in that role.
Stage 4 – Local Police
If you’re applying for an enhanced DBS check, your application is sent to your local police force and any relevant information shared. Your details are shared with local police forces that relate to any of your addresses over the past 5 years to see if anything matches in their files.
Stage 5 – Printing of DBS Certificate
This is the final stage of the process and involves the DBS gathering all the relevant information together and printing it on a certificate. Finally, the DBS posts the certificate to your address.
Possible Reasons for DBS Delays
The most likely cause of a delay happens at stage 4 of an enhanced DBS check application. Stage 4 is when the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) sends your details to local police forces to reveal any additional information held on file.
The length of time this stage takes depends on the police workload. The application cannot move forward until stage four is complete. There is often a big backlog of applications. If this is the case it can take weeks to process your application.
You can contact your local police within 60 days to raise a complaint with them. After 60 days, you can contact the DBS to ask them to track down your application.
If you want to find out more about DBS checks, including how to speed up the process, get in touch today.