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

July 6th, 2016 by Jonathan Bazely

Where is my DBS Certificate?

Waiting for your DBS/CRB Certificate to be processed 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. The length of time taken by the DBS to issue a Certificate is not a sign that there is anything on the Certificate or you have a criminal record.

The DBS follow a strict procedures when processing checks and deal with them in a purely chronological order. They also have service levels that 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. Typical processing times for an Enhanced DBS check is 11 days. The DBS are undertaking a modernisation program in 2017 in an attempt to reduce this time-frame.

The DBS application process:

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 are as follows:

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, Stage 1 occurs very quickly as all applications are checked over by a fully trained Countersignatory at DDC before submitting. At several steps in the process systems check the form information to ensure there are no mismatches or erroneous entries. We receive an electronic receipt from the DBS to confirm that the application has been received so we know the process is under way. Any ineligible applications that don’t meet the DBS data requirements are instantly rejected by their systems, with an instant notification to the DDC Team.

Why is my DBS Certificate taking so long?

From experience, we find 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) in the areas listed within the 5 year address history of the applicant. This means that if an applicant has moved around the UK 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.

What can I do to speed up my DBS application?

As an Umbrella Body DDC 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.

What is a Hardship Request?

A hardship request allows an individual to request compensation from the DBS, due to severely delayed applications. The individual must contact the DBS directly to provide additional personal information relating to the value of the hardship, and normally some proof to confirm that value. To begin this process the applicant should  contact the DBS directly.

More information:

Top tips for tracking a DBS application

What is approved additional information on an Enhanced level DBS check?