Where is my DBS/CRB check and why is it taking so long?

October 25th, 2013 by Matt Tuckey

Update Service from the DBS

Waiting for your DBS/CRB Disclosure Certificate to arrive in the post can be a frustrating time. This is especially true when you are required to have a Disclosure before starting work or taking up a volunteering role. It is important to remember that a Disclosure that is taking a relatively long time to be processed is not a sign that there is anything on the Certificate or you have a criminal record.

The DBS have defined service levels they are expected to meet with regards to issuing Disclosures. These service levels dictate the process for dealing with slow Disclosures. However, these service levels do not include strict processing time limits, so the waiting period will vary from applicant to applicant.

To understand why your check may be taking so long, it is useful to understand how the Disclosure process works. When a DBS check request is submitted by an employer or endorsing body, it has to pass through 5 separate stages before the document is issued, and a Certificate posted direct to the applicant’s home address. These stages and what they entail are:

Stage 1 – Application Form received by the DBS and validated

Stage 2 – Police National Computer searched

Stage 3 – DBS Children, DBS Adults and List 99 searched (where applicable)

Stage 4 – With the Local Police Force

Stage 5 – Certificate printed

For an eBulk user such as DDC Ltd, Stage 1 occurs very quickly as all applications are checked over by a fully trained Countersignatory at DDC before submitting, checked by our internal systems and also any ineligible applications are instantly rejected by the Disclosure and Barring Service. We receive an electronic receipt from the DBS to confirm that the application has been received so we know the process is under way.

From experience, we find that it tends to be the case that applications take the longest at Stage 4, when they are passed to the Local Police Force(s) (LPF). This process sees the application passed to any of the LPF(s) listed within the last 5 year address history of the applicant. This means that if an applicant has moved a lot in the last 5 years the application will need to be passed to several different LPFs. It is also the case that these LPFs can pass the application to another LPF, if they feel that they might hold information relevant to that application.

As an Umbrella Body DDC Ltd are limited in our ability to chase or speed up an application and can only begin a formal process of ‘Escalation’ once the application has been at Stage 4 for 60+ days. As part of the service that we offer, we track the application online to confirm when the application will reach this date and Escalate at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately any of the LPFs can raise a query and return the application to the DBS. Once the query has been resolved and the application re-sent to the LPF, their 60 day Service Level Agreement restarts.

Overall, DDC can not say how long an individuals Disclosure will take to be issued by the DBS. The DBS give no preference to certain Umbrella Bodies to enable checks to be carried out more quickly. DDC do all they can to ensure the application is going through the process and unfortunately there is no way to speed it up. Information from the DBS shows that DDC’s performance is better than average compared to all Registered Bodies and many Disclosures are issued within 24 hours of the application being submitted. On the other side of this it is perfectly normal for application to take 4 weeks to be returned.


  • Posted in Company News
  • Comments Off on Where is my DBS/CRB check and why is it taking so long?