DBS update service

The DBS update service makes it less likely that you’ll be asked to apply for a new check every time you take on a new job. This not only saves money, and the hassle of filling in forms - it means less panic wondering whether your new certificate will come through in time for the job, and you can get ahead of the rest and apply for jobs already DBS checked.

How does it work?
Like this:
  • You (ie, the individual being checked) first have to register online for the DBS Update Service (almost certainly you’ll need a new DBS check at this time)
  • You then just show your DBS certificate (no matter how old) to your prospective employer, and give them permission to check its status
  • They (ie your prospective employer) carry out a DBS Status Check online - they don’t need to register to do this, or pay anything - and find out whether any new information has been added to your certificate
  • They then use this new information to help them decide whether to hire you or not.
Sounds easy - what could possibly go wrong?
Probably nothing, it really could be as simple as above. But be aware:
  • There are tight time limits on first registering for the update service - miss these and you’re back to square one
  • Your prospective employer doesn’t have to use the status check service - they could, without giving reasons, ask you for a new DBS check just like the bad old days
  • Even if they (ie your prospective employer) are happy to make a status check your certificate may not relevant to your new job
  • If they make a status check it may say your certificate is no longer current and you’ll have to get a new one
  • Once you’ve given a prospective employee your certificate details you can’t actually block them from carrying out a status check
Worth a go - what do I do?
Step 1

You have to apply for a new check (unless you’ve just done so: see Step 2)

Step 2

Send your fully-completed application form and identity documents, off for countersigning. Our countersigners will send on your form to the DBS, returning your ID to you at the same time: you should then straight away register with the DBS Update Service using the application reference number on your application form, entering a few personal details and paying the yearly sub (£13 at August 2014).


Step 2

When you get your certificate, subscribe as above but using the certificate number. You have to do this within 30 days of the date the certificate was issued - so that doesn’t allow much leeway for delays in the post, you being away, etc.

Step 3

You add the details of your new certificate to your account. The DBS will then search regularly to see if any new information has come to light since it was issued, and the certificate details will be updated if there is new info (Reasons 2 or 3) on you

Step 4

You show your certificate to a prospective employer, and (unless there are problems, see below) they use the details on it to check online whether there has been new info on you since it was issued

Step 5

If you get a new certificate (eg because you need one for a different workforce (Reason 3) or to show updated info on you) you can add the details as in Step 3. You can have more than one certificate listed.

Step 6

You can keep an eye on who’s checking your certificate. If you don’t want them to do so, tell them you’ve revoked your permission - it would then be illegal for them to carry on checking (but you can’t actually block them from doing so).

Done that - so why am I still asked for a new certificate?

Lots of reasons:

Reason 1

Your prospective employer simply doesn’t want to use the status check service. They’re not obliged to.

Reason 2

Their status check has shown that new information on you (anything from new police info though cautions to a barring - or perhaps the removal of an offence or barring) has come to light since your certificate was issued. No-one (including you) can see that new information. You’d have to apply for a new check.

Reason 3

The type of certificate doesn’t match what you prospective employer needs. For example, it might cover the children’s barred list, and the job requires a check of the adult barred list. Or it covers only the adult "workforce" and you’d be working with children.

Is there more info?

Yes! Full information and online registration is available at: