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Delays in DBS Checks

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Lots of things are taking longer than usual at the moment. The global pandemic, and the impact of people working from home or remotely has affected everything from driving tests to getting a renewal on your passport. One of the main areas which has seen delays is the processing of DBS checks. This is not so much down to delays caused by people working at home or remotely, but due to changes in the way the DBS has processed and prioritised applications during the pandemic.


NHS Priority

Back in March when the pandemic was taking off and we were all being told to stay at home to protect the NHS, health boards around the country staged a huge recruitment drive. Retired staff were being encouraged back into hospitals, and students graduated early. In order to speed up the time it took to get people checked to work in the NHS. There were two parts to this new system. Firstly, DBS offered a 24-hour service to search the barred lists only. These are lists held of the most serious offenders, whose record means they should not be employed. If someone’s name was not on the list, they could start work pending a full check.

The DBS also prioritised all DBS applications from people working in either the NHS or similar occupations like care homes through the system. This isn’t a fast-track system in the traditional sense of the term in that the same checks are carried out. It just means that when an application from the NHS or social care sectors is received, it is processed first, ahead of any applications for DBS checks from other sectors. The obvious consequence of this policy is delays in receipt of DBS certificates for people working in other sectors, away from healthcare.


Speeding Up Your DBS

Obviously, there isn’t much you can do about a global pandemic and the wheels of the DBS grinding to a halt. But as things start to get back to normal, there are some tried and tested techniques for making sure your application goes through as quickly as possible.

One of the best pieces of advice is to spend some time on your application. New policies at the DBS mean that many applications with errors in the sections about previous names and addresses are rejected outright, resulting in further delay and having to pay the fees again. If your address history is complex, or if you’ve changed name several times, get advice from the DBS about how to complete the form.

The other main piece of advice is to seek advice from an experienced third party to help you with completing and submitting your DBS form. Third party provides, often known as responsible bodies, are the experts in submitting DBS checks. They can submit in bulk and have vast experience in dealing with all aspects of the system and process. Although there’s nothing they can do to speed up your application once it arrives at the DBS, they can certainly ensure that it’s error free when it does so.