When initial changes were made to the method for checking identities back in March, most of us didn’t think we’d still be adjusting to the new ways of working several months later. Many of the measures which were introduced on a temporary basis in March are still here in the autumn, and with no end-date, it’s likely that many of the “temporary” changes will be with us well into 2021. One of the main things which has changed is the way in which identity documents are checked for DBS checks and if you’re going to be applying soon, it’s important to know how this applies to you.
Before Covid hit, the process for assessing identity was straightforward. Anyone applying for a basic DBS check would verify their identity through one of the government portals. In other cases, the applicant would be asked to bring in a range of key documents such as passport, driving licence or bank statements into their employer, who would then check the documents face to face with the applicant. This obviously poses huge practical difficulties in times when we’re all being asked to work from home, and socially distance as much as possible. So, it’s hardly surprising that the DBS changed the rules to incorporate other ways of identity checking.
The online verification method hasn’t changed. This isn’t open to all applicants, but for a basic check, applicants can use one of the government approved sites to verify who they are. This involves logging onto a secure portal and entering details such as your passport number, national insurance number or driving licence details. The website then uses credit referencing agencies and government databases to make sure all the details belong to the right person.
Verification for Other DBS Checks
Not all DBS checks can be identity checked in this way. Applicants for enhanced or standard disclosures also need to have their physical appearance checked; in other words, to make sure that the person presenting themselves for the disclosure is the person in the identity document photographs. This is tricky to do online. There are however a few options for applicants and employers which help them check identities and stay Covid-safe.
- Scanning – applicants are now allowed to scan images of their documents or take a picture with their mobile phone and send it to the employer. The employer doesn’t need to see the original documents in these situations.
- Video verification – once the employer has received the scanned images or photos, they can then call the applicant on video link to check their appearance against their documents. They can also ask the applicant to show documents to the camera during the call.
These temporary measures have no end date put on them by the government. Your employer should be able to advise of the latest information and advice or look on the DBS own website for the very latest in terms of rules and regulations. Even when things relax, chances are that they won’t go back to exactly as they were in January 2020.