How Long Do DBS Checks Take?

DBS Basic checks are often the quickest to be completed, with APCS receiving the majority of our basic checks back within the very same day we submitted them. In fact, our fastest recorded check was completed in just 69 seconds! The reason basic DBS checks are quicker than the standard or enhanced DBS checks is possibly down to the fact that there are less stages involved to complete a basic check.

Basic check stages are as follows

  1. Application is received by the DBS
  2. The Police National Computer Search is carried out
  3. The certificate is assembled
  4. The certificate is issued and dispatched

Standard and enhanced DBS checks require additional processes because applicants that are eligible for these checks more than likely work with children or vulnerable adults, or an organisation that carries out work with these vulnerable groups.

Standard and enhanced check stages are as follows:

  1. Application is received by the DBS
  2. The Police National Computer Search is carried out
  3. Enhanced DBS checks have the Children and Vulnerable Adults barred list search, if applicable
  4. Police Records are checked – the application is sent to the regional police forces that are relevant to each applicant
  5. The certificate is issued and dispatched

Not only do the standard and enhanced DBS checks have a longer process to go through, it is possible that queries could arise at any stage from the Disclosure & Barring Service, or the police force(s) about the applications, e.g. a previous name or address is missing from the application. It is also possible that there is a backlog with a police force that has been overwhelmed with a large number of DBS checks. Another common issue is when an applicant has similar details to someone else who is on the barred lists, or if the applicant has a common name. These 2 issues can make it harder to verify that person, therefore delaying a DBS check.

As you can see, any number of factors can delay a DBS check, so unfortunately APCS can never give our customers an exact date on which their DBS check will be completed. We can however give you our current statistics on how quickly we are getting the checks back, and if applicable we can help you escalate your DBS check to the Disclosure & Barring Service, or the police.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount of time my DBS check can take?

Unfortunately, every DBS check application is different. Some take seconds, some can take months. In short, there is no minimum or maximum amount of time a DBS check can take, but there are points where the applicant or APCS can escalate the application. For example, the applicant can raise a hardship case if they are in danger of losing their job or are facing financial hardship because their DBS check is not yet finished. Unfortunately, the DBS and the police will not speak to the employer about a DBS check, it must be either the applicant or the umbrella body (APCS).

How can I escalate my DBS check?

If your application has been at Stage 4, the police record search, for more than 28 days you can call the DBS directly on 0300 0200 190, pressing option 2 and 2 again to get through to their advisor team. You will then be asked security questions and at this point you can ask the Disclosure & Barring Service to prioritise your application.

If your application has been at Stage 4 for more than 60 days, APCS will raise an escalation ourselves. If the check is not completed within 14 days of our escalation request, we are then allowed to call the DBS to acquire the police force details in order to request that a further escalation is made with the police. Unfortunately, APCS cannot escalate a DBS application prior to this point in time.

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