DBS checks

If you are engaged to work with vulnerable groups including children, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check may be required. DBS checks used to be called CRB checks.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

The information here relates to law in England and Wales.  There are different rules for getting a DBS check in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Who needs a DBS check?

A DBS check may be needed for certain jobs or voluntary work, such as working with children or in healthcare. 

It is up to employers - schools, dance and performing arts organisations - whether they ask for a DBS check.

Who organises, pays for and keeps DBS checks?

Some organisations organise their own DBS check of staff as a pre-requisite to employment. They will organise and pay for it - you will need to fill in the forms and provide documents proving your identity. This usually happens if you are recruited for a permanent post. For temporary or freelance work, you may be expected to produce your own DBS certificate. You will need to organise and pay for it.

DBS checks for eligible volunteers are free of charge. This includes anyone who spends time helping people and is not being paid (apart from travel and basic expenses).  If you are a volunteer, check with your recruiting organisation to find out if you qualify for a free DBS check.

How long is a DBS check valid?

DBS checks do not have a formal period of validity - they provide employers with a report of police records at the time they are requested. It is regarded good practice to renew your DBS check every two to three years.

DBS Update Service

The DBS update service lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up to date online and allows employers to check a certificate online.

For an annual subscription of £13 (free for volunteers) you can have your DBS Certificate kept up-to-date and take it with you from role to role, within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required, thereby reducing the need to apply for multiple Certificates. Organisations can carry out a quick online Status check to see if an individual's Certificate is still up to date - saving you both time and money.

You can subscribe to the Update Service online at www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service. You can join the Update Service at the same time you apply for a DBS check or you can wait and register with your certificate number when you receive your DBS certificate. If so, you must do so within 19 days of the certificate being issued.

How do I apply for a DBS check?

It is not possible for individuals and the self employed to apply for a DBS check directly from the Disclosure and Barring Service. They can only be applied for by organisations registered as 'Umbrella Bodies'. 

If you are applying through an umbrella body, you will need to pay the charge for an enhanced DBS check, which is currently £44. Most umbrella organisations also charge a fee to cover the cost of staff admin time in processing applications. If you are a volunteer, a DBS check is free of charge. Check with your recruiting organisation to find out if you qualify.

People Dancing: the Foundation for Community Dance (the professional organisation for anyone involved in creating opportunities for people to experience and participate in dance) is a Registered Body and Umbrella Body, and can process and countersign DBS checks for their members.  The cost of having a DBS check processed by them depends on your membership type; for more information go to their website.

If you are a current student at Trinity Laban, it may be possible for you have a DBS check processed via Trinity Laban's Human Resources department.  Email Pamela Thompson to enquire about whether this is possible and to find out the cost.

For more information about DBS checks go to: GOV.UK

How long will it take to process my application?

The time it akes to process a DBS check depends on the level of check (i.e. Standard, Enhanced or Enhanced with list checks) and on whether the details given for the check are correct.  Enhanced checks also rely on getting information from the relevant police forces and this can sometimes delay your application.

Generally, it can take around 8 weeks to get a DBS check.

How can I check the progress of my application?

You can track the progress of your application  via the DBS tracking service.

The DBS certificate

Once the check is completed, the DBS will send a certificate to the you as the applicant.  The employer has to ask you to see the certificate.  If you have subscribed to the DBS update service, the employer can check your certificate online.

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