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The DBS Update Service – How it could help schools

We are frequently asked how often DBS checks need to be renewed and whether the DBS Update Service is a better option for employers.

Keeping Children Safe in Education has been updated for September 2018 and clearly sets out the requirements for schools to carry out DBS Checks. Here we explain how the Update Service may be useful for some employers/employees.

The Update Service allows employers access to a free, instant online check on the current status of an existing DBS certificate. It allows individuals to hold a portable DBS certificate for an annual fee of £13 (volunteers are free). Individuals must register their DBS certificate on the Update Service within 30 days of issue to be eligible for a subscription.

An employer can only make the status check if they could also legally request a new DBS application for the role the individual will be working in. The employer will be asked to sign a legal declaration confirming that permission from the individual has been provided and there is a legal right to ask about spent conviction information for a prescribed purpose.

As an employer, here is what you need to do before carrying out a check:

  • Ask to see the individual’s original DBS certificate, check if it is at the right level for the job they are applying for;
  • Check their identity documents match the name on the certificate;
  • Obtain permission from the individual to carry out a check.

The outcome of the status check should be recorded on your Single Central Record and a screen print can be kept on file. A copy of the DBS certificate must not be kept.

If the status check reveals there has been a change, you should have a discussion with the individual about the reasons for this before making a decision on employment.

The Update Service will not inform an employer if a status changes although periodic checks of a certificate can be carried out with consent. Criminal conviction and barring information is updated weekly. Other non-conviction information is updated every 9 months.

A full employer guide is available which you may also find useful.

If you need any guidance about undertaking a DBS check or the outcome, please get in touch with one of our team on 01924 827869.

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