A DBS is not only to safeguard the children and young people/ vulnerable adults you work/volunteer with but also safeguards yourself.

Please find here answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

Q. Do I need a DBS check?

A. If you are working regularly* with children and young people and/or vulnerable adults, and are regularly unsupervised whilst working with them, you must complete a DBS check.

Q. When should I complete a DBS check?

A. DBS Checks must be undertaken before work commences with children & young people.  In some cases, you can commence work with children and young people, whilst you are awaiting receipt of your DBS certificate, however, you must never be unsupervised during this time.  A risk assessment can be put in place if the applicant already holds a DBS for another organisation, but this is at the discretion of the employer.

Q. How much does a DBS check cost?

A.  Diferent organisations charge different fees.  Please check with them directly.

Q. How long will it take for me to receive my DBS certificate?

A. As a guidance we allow for up to 6 weeks for the DBS process.  Some DBS certificates can come quicker and some take longer.  Once an application is posted by Pro-Action to DBS, it is out of our hands.

Q. How can I track my DBS check?

A. On completing your DBS form, you will have a reference number beginning with 'F...' on the front of your form.  Using this Form Reference number and your name, you can contact the DBS office for guidance on the progress of your check.  Tracking the progress of the form is the applicants responsibility. 

Q.  I have received my DBS certificate, what now?

A. On receipt of your DBS certificate, you must now show this original form to your employer where they can check for any disclosures.  Your employer must record your name, certificate number and issue date, for their central record which must be GDPR compliant.  Your employer must NOT take a photocopy of picture of your DBS certificate.  Don't forget to register for the update service too.

Q. How long does a DBS check last for?

A. There is no rule to how long a DBS check lasts for.  It is widely believed that DBS checks 'last' for 3 years.  Whilst we agree with this, we suggest completing DBS checks annually as good practice.  The best method is for individuals to register for the online Update Service, either whilst their DBS is being processed using the Form Reference number or within 30 days of receiving their paper DBS certificate.  

Q. What is the Update Service?

A. The Update Service is an online subscription service and is offered directly by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) to allow your DBS check to be portable between employers. There is an annual subscription fee (for paid employees only) that you will need to pay in order for it to be portable and it will stay portable and current for as long as you continue this subscription. The Update Service is free for Volunteers. The Update Service allows you to take you DBS from one job to the next. It is a quick and efficient way for Employers to can carry out instant online status check on you without having to complete and wait for a new one to be done.  

Q. Can I change the DBS 'workforce' between Child & Adult when using the Update Service?

A. No.  The Update Service allows you to take your DBS Certificate from one job to the next unless you need a DBS Check for a different type of ‘workforce’ than you have previously held e.g. if your certificate states Child Workforce and you now need an Adult Workforce certificate then you will need to apply for a new check. This also applies if you have a different level than what is required for example if you currently hold a check at standard level when an enhanced check is required.

Q.  Once I am registered to the Update Service is that it?

A.  No, if you don’t renew your Update Service registration each year, you would need to apply for a new DBS Check to register for the Update Service again. You can renew your subscription through the update service, either:

  • when you first register, by choosing automatic renewal
  • up to 30 days before your current subscription ends - but you can’t renew on the last day of your subscription

Q. How much does registering for the Update Service cost?

A. Registration costs £13 per year (payable by debit or credit card only) for paid staff. There is no charge if you are a volunteer.