Applicants can now subscribe to the DBS Update Service with a new Certificate. Once subscribed the individual can take their Certificate with them from role to role where the exact same level and type of check are required. The status can be regularly checked by the employer so there will also be no further need to apply for fresh disclosures when renewing them. With the individual’s permission, employers can go online for a free and instant check to find out whether the Certificate is still up to date.
Care should be taken however as you can only use a like-for-like check in this situation. This is because the employer/recruiting body is not legally entitled to know any subsequent information relating to a different workforce or level of regulated/non-regulated activity. For example, a nurse who has been checked for working with children and vulnerable adults can’t then use that check for working just with children in a youth activity. Similarly, a volunteer check can’t be used for a paid role.
The Update Service will only check for new information which relates to the applicant and not individuals connected with the home address if the applicant carries out some or all of their work from home. If your organisation is part of a diocese/organisation group, please first check with them if their policy allows the DBS Update Service to be accepted.
Update Service - Examples
Ranjiit has an Update Service subscription with an enhanced certificate for the adult workforce. This includes a check against the adults’ barred list.
Ranjiit is applying for a role volunteering with children, which is eligible for an enhanced disclosure with a check against the childrens' barred list.
Ranjiit informs the organisation he is registered with the Update Service, however, they are unable to accept this as it is not a like-for-like check.
This is because the legal declaration would ask if the organisation is entitled to check the adults' barred list – and they are not – only the children’s list. Therefore, although Ranjiit has given his consent, the organisation cannot make the legal declaration required and cannot make an update status check.
The organisation should ask Ranjiit to complete a new DBS application form where they will request the right level and workforce for the role he will be employing him in. Ranjiit can then add that new certificate to his Update Service subscription at no extra cost.
Emmanuel is a Doctor and in this role has an enhanced DBS disclosure including a check against the childrens' and adults' barred lists and has subscribed to the Update Service.
Emmanuel has volunteered to join your organisation's Youth Club Team and would be eligible for an enhanced disclosure including a check against the childrens' barred list.
In this instance, it would not be possible to accept Emmanuel's certificate as a Doctor as it includes a check of the adult workforce and a check against the adults' barred list.
This is because the legal declaration would ask if the organisation is entitled to check the adults' barred list – and they are not – only the childrens’ list.
Therefore, although Emmanuel has given his consent, the organisation cannot make the legal declaration required and cannot make an update status check.
The organisation should ask Emmanuel to complete a new DBS application form where they will request the right level and workforce for the role. Emmanuel can then add that new certificate to his Update Service subscription at no extra cost.
Maria is a teacher who has an Update Service subscription with an enhanced certificate in the child workforce. This includes a check against the children’s barred list.
Maria offers to volunteer with her local children’s playgroup for a role that is eligible for an enhanced disclosure with a check against the children's barred lists.
Maria can present her original certificate and ID documents to the organisation along with providing them with consent to carry out a status check on the Update Service.
The certificate contains the same level of checks in the same workforce as the teacher training role requires. Therefore the organisation can make the status check as she will be able to make the legal declaration required.
Frequently asked questions
No, an organisation is not required to accept the Update Service. You can choose to always complete a new DBS application to help limit the risks associated with accepting certificates from elsewhere.
There will be a £13 annual subscription fee for paid workers or free for volunteers.
The easiest way for a worker to subscribe is to join online at DBS up to 30 days from the date of issue of their DBS Certificate.
No, this is a free service for Recruiters/employers.
Yes, you must see the original DBS certificate.
Before you view the original certificate you will need to ensure that it is of the right type and level that you need and that you are legally entitled to, for example, Enhanced with an Adults’ Barred List check.
Having obtained the applicant’s permission, employers can go to DBS and enter their name and organisation together with the applicant’s name, date of birth and Certificate number. They do not have to register or subscribe to carry out a Status check.
- Check the DBS Certificate is exactly the same type and level as needed
- Check the individual’s identity
- Check the name on the DBS Certificate matches this identity
- Obtain the individual’s consent to carry out a status check (DBS Update Service Check List)
- Take a note of the DBS Certificate reference number and the individual’s name and date of birth
- Comply with the DBS Code of Practice which includes having a policy on the Recruitment of Ex-offenders and make this available to the individual. A sample policy on the Recruitment of ex-offenders is available from us or via the DBS.
Yes, if the individual leaves your organisation, moves to a position which is not eligible for a DBS check, or withdraws their consent you must stop carrying out any further checks. If you continue to carry out Status checks on their certificate you would be breaking the law by accessing data you were not entitled to see. Please note that the applicant will be able to see an audit detailing who has checked their status and the dates that this occurred.
You will see the following details:
- The individual’s name
- The individual’s date of birth and one of the following results:
- This DBS Certificate did not reveal any information and remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue
- This DBS Certificate remains current as no further information has been identified since its issue
- This DBS Certificate is no longer current. Please apply for a new DBS check to get the most up-to-date information
- The details entered do not match those held on our system. Please check and try again.
Please refer to the DBS Update Service Flowchart to help you interpret the above.
The status will change if:
- any new convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings are recorded; or
- any amendment or change to a current conviction, caution, warning or reprimand For enhanced DBS certificates:
- any new, relevant police information is recorded For Enhanced Certificates with a Barred List check(s):
- If the individual becomes barred for that list(s) checked on the enhanced certificate
You should have a discussion with the individual about the reasons why there is a change. For safeguarding measures a new DBS check should be undertaken but any action you take before you find out the new information is a matter for your organisation.
No, if you want to check if the DBS Certificate remains current you will have to carry out periodic Status checks with the individual’s consent.
No, if you are carrying out Status checks you must comply with the DBS Code of Practice which sets out when, and with whom, you can share the results with.
The applicant can log in to their DBS subscription to advise of a change of email, postal address or phone no; however, if their name has changed they must apply for a new certificate.
The Update Service will only check for updates relating to the individual for whom the check was carried out, not the home address where the work is being undertaken or any other individuals employed or living at that address.
If you want to find out whether there is any new information on individuals living or employed at their home, you must request a new DBS check.
You can only do this if the role you are considering the individual for, gives you the right to see the information.