Knowing when to request new DBS checks for employees and volunteers is one of the employer’s key roles in the DBS checking process.
Despite what you may have heard, DBS checks don’t have an official expiry date. This is because the information is only technically accurate at the time the certificate is printed.
So how can you determine when to request new DBS checks? Read on to find out…
Has the applicant started a new job with your organisation?
If the applicant has started a new job with your organisation recently, and they’re eligible for a DBS check, you can request one for them.
But what if they’ve brought an existing DBS check with them?
Guidance states that employers can only accept a DBS check from a previous job if the applicant’s new position is the same as the one the check was obtained for. This is because the position stated on the certificate affects the rest of the disclosure information, such as workforce type and requirement for barred list checks. This information may be inaccurate if the new position is different.
In addition, if the position stated on the certificate is different then you may be viewing information you’re not legally entitled to view based on the role the applicant is undertaking in your organisation.
You should also consider the length of time since the previous certificate was issued before accepting it as proof their criminal history. Typically, employers will request a new check for applicants starting a new job with their organisation unless their previous certificate exactly matches their current role, and was issued recently.
Do your organisation’s recruitment policies affect this decision?
If your organisation carries out DBS checks on employees or volunteers, it must have a recruitment of ex-offenders policy in place.
This, alongside other organisation-specific recruitment and employment policies, may affect decisions about when to request new DBS checks.
As there is no set date when a DBS certificate expires, companies may often put their own requirements in place for when this should be done.
Considering these requirements is crucial when determining when to request new DBS checks for employees or volunteers.
Does your organisation have a regulatory body?
If your organisation has a regulatory body, such as Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission, which oversees safeguarding measures, they may also stipulate when to request new DBS checks. For instance, CQC set out their advice in their guidance on DBS checks.
Regulatory bodies may or may not set out specific timescales for when new DBS checks should be requested. However, it’s important to confirm this with any relevant bodies, as it may affect your organisation’s registration with them.
When to request new DBS checks: A summary
There are several important aspects to consider when deciding whether to request a new DBS check for an employee of volunteer.
- If they’re starting a new role with you and they have an existing certificate, you should only accept it if their previous role matches the new one exactly, and it was issued recently. If you have any questions about this, contact the Disclosure and Barring Service.
- There is no official expiry date on a DBS certificate. Organisations should use their discretion when deciding when to request new DBS checks. Refer to your organisation’s policies to see whether they stipulate a timescale.
- Does your organisation have a regulatory body? Check with them to confirm their requirements on when new DBS checks should be requested.