The Disclosure and Barring Service launch a new service in June

Year Published: 2013

The Disclosure and Barring Service have announced a new service that will be launching on 17 June 2013. Individuals will be able to subscribe to a service which will maintain their criminal record certificate and allow it to be mobile between jobs. Employers will be able to conduct free online checks to establish whether there have been any changes to the employees certificate.


In October 2010 the government announced a review of the Criminal Records Bureau checks regime to ensure that the right balance was struck between civil liberties and safeguarding vulnerable groups. As a result the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force and the following provisions were enacted:

  • The Independent Safeguarding Authority and the CRB were merged and a new body, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was created on 1st December 2012. The role of the DBS is primarily for processing requests for criminal record certificates and making decisions regarding the appropriateness to place an individual or remove them from a barred list.
  • The system of criminal records checks would be continuously updated. DBS certificates would be issued to the individual concerned rather than be sent to a registered body or employer. This allows the individual to challenge the check before the certificate is released to the employer.

Situation after 17 June 2013

The DBS announced that an online service will be created to enable individuals to keep their criminal records check up to date and allow employers or registered bodies to check the status of the certificate. This also means that a request does not have to be made each time the person changes role or indeed volunteers for a post where a criminal records check would be required.

An annual subscription to the service will be £13 and free for volunteers. Individuals subscribe to the service which provides the following benefits:

  • The DBS certificate will be kept up to date. Regular searches will be conducted for any changes to the information on a certificate. The frequency of the searches will depend on the level of subscription e.g. basic, standard or enhanced and the type e.g. work with children and will also depend on the probability of any changes.
  • The DBS certificate will be transferable which means the individuals can take their certificates with them wherever they go provided that the same level and type of check are required. This will be much easier for those working in teaching and care homes who previously needed a check for each new role. This also reduces the cost to the employer who will be able to access the system online for free.
  • The DBS certificate will only be sent to the individual subject to the check. The individual will then have the opportunity to review and challenge any of the certificates content before it is released to the employer.

How does this affect employers?

It is expected that this new service will speed up the recruitment process and enhance the safeguarding process already in place. Employers will no longer need to await a CRB certificate to offer employment and should be able to instantly check on line the contents of the certificate.

Prior to this CRB certificates were not updated as a matter of course and therefore were only relevant on the date they were issued. The new certificates are regularly updated and the employer can check the certificate for any changes without having to request and pay for a further certificate.

Employers who require DBS certificates for the employees must now make them aware of this change and the requirement for them to subscribe to the service. Employers must also decide whether the cost of subscription is one that they will meet or whether the individual will continue to pay for the service.

If you have any questions regarding DBS certificates or any other employment matter, please contact our employment team.

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