The latest performance figures are out, and they show that around the country, police forces are performing better against targets than previously. Nationally, the target of the majority of DBS checks being completed within 14 days is being achieved, but only marginally. Unlike many of the other government services such as applying for a passport, there is no “fast track” option for disclosure checks. But just because you can’t stick a few extra pounds on the credit card and get your certificate back more quickly doesn’t mean that there are a few secrets to getting your DBS check processed without any delay.
One of the main reasons why disclosure checks take longer is because the forms have mistakes or omissions on them. In the best-case scenario, missing information could result in your form languishing in someone’s in-tray until an admin assistant emails or calls you to clarify details. In the worst-case scenario, making mistakes on the fields concerning your previous addresses or names could mean your application is rejected outright. If this happens, you’d have to start the application process again, and you’d forfeit the fee you paid too.
Another sticking point in the system for many people concerns documents and proving who you are. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your employer asks you to being in identification to verify that you are who you say you are. If it does, this can delay your application as you scramble around looking for your passport, driving licence or utility bills. There is guidance online showing exactly what combination of ID can be used. Get organised with your identification and keep it all together in a safe place when needed.
If you are one of the many people who has opted to receive statements or bills digitally rather than in paper copies, it might take you longer to organise your paperwork. Printouts or screen shots won’t be accepted so you may have to contact your service provider and ask them to send you hard copies.
There is quite a bit of seasonal fluctuation in DBS processing times too. The figures show that processing times go up in the summer holidays and over Christmas and New Year. This is partly because of staff absence at the Disclosure and Barring Service and Police, and partly because more applications are submitted at these times. There’s not much you can do to deal with seasonal delays, apart from being aware of them and building in a potential delay into your planning.
All DBS certificates are sent out in the post, so a couple of days for the letter to reach you from the DBS office is unavoidable. However, you can choose to submit your application online to avoid postal delays at the submission stage. If you have to send your originally documents to your employer rather than take them in person, try to use first class mail or a courier service rather than relying on a second-class stamp.