How are DBS checks being impacted by the Corona Virus?

At time of writing, (20th March) the DBS have not informed us of any delays in checks due to the corona virus, instead we have seen that the DBS checks are coming back at normal time frames.

The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) have made temporary changes to the process of checking someone’s criminal record, in direct response to the COVID 19 crisis.

How do I apply for COVID 19 Fast Track Enhanced DBS checks?

The DBS have created a fast track barred list option especially for certain roles. This includes those working in the health and care sectors. The fast track DBS service is free and is available from Monday 30 March 2020.

Please note it is the barred list part of the check that will be fast tracked, not the whole enhanced DBS check.

The fast track barred list checks are not for the ‘key worker’ roles however, they are only for job roles specified in this document here. In summary, you can request these checks if one of the following apply:

  1. You are applying for care roles where the applicant is being recruited to cover for staff who are ill, or unavailable, due to COVID19
  2. You are applying for roles where the applicants are going to be providing health care or personal care to people who currently have the virus.
  3. You are applying for social care roles created as an emergency response to COVID-19

APCS advise that our customers take care when considering who is eligible for the fast track COVID 19 applications. Only those who need the checks to fight the impact of the corona virus should apply.

When filling in the DBS forms, recruiters should include COVID19 in the job position, for example ‘COVID19 DOCTOR’. You should also make sure the relevant regulated activity boxes are ticked, depending on which vulnerable group the applicant is working with. Finally, you can tick the volunteer box to ensure the DBS process the application free of charge. This can be done even if it is a paid role and the applicant doesn’t meet the usual free-of-charge volunteer criteria.

Unfortunately, if a recruiter doesn’t carry out the above, the DBS will not issue a refund for the check.

What about standard and basic level DBS checks?

Before 15th April 2020, only Enhanced checks with barred lists were eligible for the free DBS service. Now, Standard and Enhanced checks without barred lists are eligible if they are within the roles outlined within the corona virus legislation. For these DBS checks, ‘Covid-19’ must be included in the position applied for and the volunteer box must be selected. The rest of the application is completed as normal. Please note, this is not a fast track service. The fast track service is for enhanced DBS checks that have the barred list checks only.

There are no changes to the basic level DBS service currently.

Can I use an old DBS certificate during the COVID 19 Crisis?

Recruiters should ask their employees, or potential employees, whether they have signed up to the Update Service. If they have, recruiters can use the information from the Update Service instead of applying for new certificates. Recruiters can also ask whether the employees have recently had a DBS check within the last 3 years. As long as the old DBS checks were for the correct workforce(s) and have the correct barred list(s), recruiters can accept the old certificates.

The DBS have advised that recruiters can also temporarily accept volunteer DBS check certificates. This is only if the person is being recruited for an emergency fast track role.

When will I get the Fast Track COVID 19 check back?

The DBS will send the results to APCS by the end of the next working day, we will then forward the results to our customers as soon as we get them.

The results will be like normal DBS check results. They will say either ‘clear’, or ‘please wait to view applicants’ certificate’.

Can I join the Update Service under a COVID19 DBS check?

Unfortunately, no. The DBS will de-link any COVID19 fast track applications that were free of charge from the Update Service.

Is the Corona Virus impacting the DBS turnaround times?

At the moment, APCS are getting 68% of enhanced DBS applications back within 7 working days.

At time of writing, the DBS have not informed us of any delays in checks due to the corona virus, instead we have seen that the DBS checks are coming back at normal time frames. There are still back logs with some police forces, but this factor hasn’t changed in the last few months.

Police Force Suspension of Fingerprints

As a result of the current social distancing arrangements for Covid-19, all Police Forces have suspended their fingerprinting arrangements with DBS, to protect customers and staff. DBS will be making all efforts to complete applications without fingerprints being required, however a small number of applications will be impacted. Once Police Forces lift the suspension, DBS will continue with those applications.

How do I ID check employees during a time of social distancing?

The DBS have made temporary changes to the DBS check ID guidelines to try to limit physical contact between employers and potential employees. Please see their updated guidelines here.

Is COVID-19 affecting Apostille services?

Due to the current situation in the UK, unfortunately the Foreign and Commonwealth Office apostille (legalisation) services are unavailable. You can still request for your basic criminal record check to be apostilled, but this means your certificate will be kept on hold until the apostille services are available again.

How can I employ my staff faster while waiting for their DBS checks?

If your staff carry out regulated activity with vulnerable adults (they are eligible for the adult barred list check), you can request ISA checks on your staff to get them working while they wait for their full DBS check to come back. Please see our website here here for more information about ISA first requests.

If your staff carry out regulated activity with children, you can request a children’s barred list check while their DBS check is in process. Please see our website here for more information about children’s barred list requests.

ID checking changes during COVID-19

The DBS are aware that it is taking longer than usual to process UK passport applications due to coronavirus (Covid-19). In response to this, the DBS will temporarily allow expired UK passports that are within 6 months of the expiry date for the DBS identity checking purposes.

The applicant must be in possession of their expired passport to use it as an identity document.

The APCS online application form will only allow the passport details to be entered if the passport is in date. However, as per the new DBS temporary ID checking guidance, expired UK passports that are within 6 months of the expiry date can still be used for the identity checking purposes.

More information on this can be found here.

What are APCS doing in regards to Corona Virus?

You can read our statement regarding the virus here.

In light of these challenging times, APCS have decided to transition to working from home, and are grateful to our IT teams for enabling us to do this.

We will continue to:

  • Respond to all our customer and applicant enquiries.
  • Submit your DBS checks, credit checks, children’s barred list checks, overseas checks and more.
  • Take payments and carry out invoicing

If you need to contact us regarding any issues, you can still call us as normal on 0151 638 6158, or email us at [email protected].

Take care everyone and look after each other.

Follow us