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Recent Changes to the DBS System

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 introduced a number of changes in relation to criminal record status checks on individuals seeking to work with certain vulnerable sections of society.

Among the key changes introduced was the substitution of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in place of the previously separate Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority.

The most recent change to be implemented is the introduction of the new DBS Update Service for employers and individuals. It is effectively an online database of up to date employee DBS information that employers can access.

Online DBS Update Service System

Previously, DBS checks were carried out by employers at the time of engagement of individuals and a DBS Certificate was issued recording the status of the individual at that date.

With the implementation of the new rules, with effect from June 17 2013, the DBS has provided a new Update Service system to enable employers to carry out online status checks.

DBS Update Service Procedure

The procedure involved under the new rules is straightforward. Individuals can make an annual payment of £13 and choose to subscribe to the Update Service. When moving employment they can consent to make available their status to a prospective employer who in turn can gain access to their information by logging in online to check their existing DBS Certificate is up to date. The new rules do not require any fees for individuals who work voluntarily.

The status checks are completely free for employers but they need to possess a copy of an original DBS Certificate, must be legally entitled to do checks and have the consent of the employee.

The DBS intends to filter some minor convictions but has supplied a list of offences that can never be filtered.

Benefits of the DBS Update Service Procedure

The new system enables the current DBS status of individuals to be reviewed by an employer without requiring the issue of a new certificate. Individuals who have subscribed to the Update Service will effectively ensure that their status checks are fresh, enabling them to reuse existing DBS Certificates when moving roles or employment.

From the employers’ perspective, the new rules provide for hassle free compliance saving both time and costs in hiring applicants to perform regulated activities. However, it is important to note that employers can conduct DBS status checks only if they are eligible to do so, and only after obtaining consent from the concerned individual.

This will enable informed recruitment decisions to be made by employers more efficiently while continuing to ensure that they only engage individuals who are not otherwise barred from working with vulnerable groups such as children.

For more information please contact us on 0207 611 4848.

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