September marks the start of the return to school and given that in 2020 many children have been out of school for months; this is a more important return than usual. Among all the uncertainty, there will be new teachers and other members of staff due to take up new positions in school. But does that mean the DBS system will be flooded with many new applications?
Renewing DBS Checks
For many people already working in schools, renewing a DBS check is not done on a regular basis. Students have a DBS check when they enrol onto a teaching course at University, and again when applying for permanent positions. These DBS checks don’t expire and aren’t renewed or re-done unless the person concerned moves into a different local authority area or takes up a position in a school in the private sector. Teachers are also members of the General Teaching Council, who are informed if one of their members commits a crime which could affect their DBS status.
Admin and Other School Staff
Other staff working in schools may require both a DBS check when they start work, and on a regular basis thereafter. This could include office staff, janitorial staff or catering staff. As people in these roles work in close proximity to children, they also require enhanced DBS checks. How frequently these checks need to be renewed will depend on the policies of the individual school, or local authority. Usually, policies are that DBS checks are renewed every two or three years.
If you think it’s a while since you last had a DBS check, then the good news is that it’s not your job to chase this up. The responsibility lies with the employer to implement the policy and keep up to date with who needs to fill in the renewal form. Renewals follow the same process as any other application – there are not short cuts to renewing a DBS check as there are with passports or other documents. Maximise your chances of getting your application returned as quickly as possible by taking care over filling in the form and follow up any queries with the DBS rather than just making a guess at what should be filled in a particular field.
Delays at the DBS?
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, the DBS switched emphasis onto processing checks from NHS and care staff as quickly as possible. That was good news for anyone working in the healthcare sector but meant that people applying for DBS checks in other sectors experienced delays. Things are slowly getting back to normal, but the prioritisation of healthcare applications will continue until the autumn at the earliest. Employers are being encouraged to be a bit more flexible around DBS checks at present. This doesn’t mean disregarding safeguarding altogether but may mean that schools put renewals on hold for a few months or accept DBS checks issued in other sectors as a short-term measure rather than getting a new check done.