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Starting Work Without a DBS Check

Start my check

In an ideal world, the process of getting your DBS check would always run very smoothly. Usually, DBS checks are issued within around two weeks of them being requested, but statistics repeatedly show that some areas are consistently failing to issue certificates within this timescale. London is one of the slowest areas to get DBS checks done, with some checks taking months to complete. If you’ve recently arrived from overseas or your DBS check involves getting police records from your home country and then having them translated, this can compound the problem even further. There are no laws about starting jobs while your DBS is pending, so it’s worth asking about the employer’s policy at the interview stage.


Can I Legally Start Work?

There is no law preventing employers from allowing you to commence work while the paperwork is being processed, but employers might be constrained by regulatory bodies or other organisations. For example, the NHS may have a blanket policy that anyone starting work as a nurse or care assistant has to have their DBS check in place first. Smaller employers might not be as restrictive in their outlook, but are still within their rights to not allow you to start work. They are also not obliged to pay you while you are waiting for checks to be completed. Most employers stating that your job offer is not official until your DBS certificate is received, so it’s in your own interests to get things moving as quickly as you can.


Restricted Duties

Some employers may take the view that they’d rather take the risk of having you working in their operation pending your checks. This will depend on the type of role you’re applying to work in, and other factors such as positive references or membership of professional bodies. In many cases, your position won’t be made permanent until the certificates are received. A common approach from employers is to team up new starters who have not received their paperwork yet with more experienced members of staff who have been in the organisation for many years and who have a valid DBS check in place. There may be some aspects of your role which you can only carry out under supervision during this period.


Speeding Up Your DBS

Unlike other paperwork such as passports, there is no option to pay for an expedited service for a DBS check to be done. If you are applying with CRB Direct you can select a 24 hour fast track application which allows your application to be processed with the DBS within 24 hours of receiving the applicants documents and information. If you’ve heard that your area is suffering delays, there are some things you can do to make sure your application isn’t held up in the system.

  • Get the form double checked – it’s easy to miss sections on the form, or make other errors completing it. If the DBS require more information to carry out the checks, the form will be returned to you and it will cause additional delay.
  • Get your documents together – the first part of the DBS process is providing identity documents such as passport and utility bills. Keep these items together in a safe place to have them immediately available when needed.
  • Register for the update service – this will allow you to log into the DBS portal and see how your application is progressing.