A detailed understanding of the DBS system and how to use it when applying for a job


The DBS is a form of background check that employers go through when they are planning on hiring a person who they do not know well. Since the pandemic got a lot of the workforce to begin working from home, teams were not meeting each other in person anymore. These changes meant that the companies could not have al their employees in the office at the same time to keep up with the new COVID rules.

The Disclosure and Barring Service or DBS Update Service allows:

  • applicants to keep their DBS certificates up to date

  • employers to check a DBS certificate

The service is for standard and enhanced DBS checks and has measures allowing employers to go through the information of the people they are planning on hiring or the people already working with them. In most cases, only employers can collect this information.

The process of registering for a new DBS check is slightly modified. It usually costs £13 per year. People who are looking for a standard or enhanced DBS check need their application reference number (‘form ref’ on the application form). The DBS must receive the application in 28 days. It also has a tracking service to check the progress of the DBS certificate.

The information mentioned on a specific DBS certificate can be tracked and viewed by providing the DBS certificate number, allowing applicants to go through it, so they get an idea about the person they are planning on working with.

Not all jobs need a thorough DBS check, and for a basic DBS check, they can register for an online services account instead of using the Update Service. The information gathered depends on the job description and the employer within the company.

Most people are allowed to use the same DBS certificate when they are moving from one company to another. There are points in time where the applicant can add more information to

their certificate. There are exceptions to this rule, and employers might not be able to use the same certificate if:

  • An employer asks you to get a new certificate

  • Need a different type of ‘workforce’ (for example, you have an ‘adult workforce’ certificate and need a ‘child workforce’ certificate)

  • Need a different level certificate (for example, you have a standard DBS certificate and need an enhanced one)

The employer can tell you what DBS certificate they need you to have.

Employers are allowed to make these changes and go through these checks online if they are planning on working with an individual. They need their new hires to be a good fit for the team, and they should work well for the position they are trying to fill.

To check a DBS certificate status online, you must:

  • be legally entitled to carry out a check

  • have the worker’s permission

  • You do not need to pay or register to carry out a status check. You can directly see the results.

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