DBS application process – applicant guide
Why am I being asked to apply for a DBS check?
The Church in Wales is committed to the safer recruitment of all who work for the Church, including clergy, employees and volunteers. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps the Church in Wales make safer recruitment decisions by processing and issuing DBS checks.
You will be asked to apply for a DBS check if you are being considered for a paid or volunteer role in the Church that includes significant contact with children and/or adults at risk or a role that includes regulated activity as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and amended under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
If the position concerned includes regulated activity your DBS check will include a check of the children’s and/or adults’ barred lists, which identify people who are prevented by law from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
The Church in Wales has made an assessment that the DBS check for which you are asked to apply is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned but if you have any questions about the request please contact the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team.
The DBS website contains a tool to find out what type of DBS check is available for a specific role with adults and/or children. You can use this tool to see if you need a DBS check for the position concerned:
What do I need to do?
The first stage of the process is for a request to be made to initiate a DBS check. This is done by the Recruiting Manager – the person responsible for appointing you to the applicable role. A form on the Church in Wales website is completed by your recruiting manager, which includes some information provided by you.
The next stage of the process is for you to complete your online DBS application.
You will be given a link to an online application screen where you will create your application using a user ID provided by the DBS Administrator. You will be asked to create a password of your choice and be told to keep this password confidential. This ensures privacy and forms part of the legally binding declaration at the end of the process which confirms the information provided is complete and true. The password must be at least eight characters in length and must contain a number.
Before starting the online application process, you should have the following ID information available, if you have it:
- Full Name History (including names used concurrently for professional reasons)
- National Insurance Number
- UK Driving Licence Details
- Passport Details
- Mother’s maiden name
You also will need a full five-year address history, including postcodes and dates from and to for each address.
What identity evidence do I need to provide?
When your online application has been submitted, you will be presented with a screen that explains that you must have the information you have provided in your application checked against your ID documents. There is a link on the screen to a summary of the type and number of documents that must be provided but details of ID evidence which the DBS accepts can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-identity-checking-guidelines
The DBS Administrator will ask you to present the required ID documents for a face to face check and an ID checker will contact you to arrange the ID checking session.
Temporary changes to ID checking guidelines are being made as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and ID documents will be viewed over video link.
How long will my DBS application take?
The DBS Administrator will submit your application to the DBS as soon as you have completed the online application and had your ID documents examined face to face.
Most basic checks will be processed by the DBS within fourteen days and most enhanced checks within eight weeks but it can take longer if you have moved around the UK in the five years prior to the application because several police forces will need to be involved in the checking process.
You can use online services provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service to check the progress of basic or enhanced checks using your application reference number.
You can track the progress of a basic check by using the DBS online account tracking service. You do not need to create an account but will need your application reference number, surname and date of birth.
You can track the progress of your enhanced application using the DBS tracking service. You will need your application reference number and date of birth to track the application.
What happens next?
When the DBS has completed its checks, disclosure information is sent to you by post as a DBS certificate.
If your certificate has no disclosure information recorded your recruitment process can proceed but you will be expected to present your certificate to the recruiting manager as evidence that the check has been completed.
If your certificate records convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings or other relevant information you will be asked to submit the original certificate to the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team for further scrutiny. The certificate will be considered by a safeguarding panel to decide whether or not the information presents a barrier to appointment. The DBS only issues conviction details to the applicant so you can choose whether or not to reveal the content of your certificate. However, your recruitment cannot proceed until your certificate has been seen.
Please note that you must not work with children and/or adults at risk in a paid or volunteer role until the information on your DBS certificate has been considered and you receive confirmation from the Church in Wales that you may undertake these activities.
When does my DBS check expire?
A DBS check has no official expiry date. However, any information included in a check is accurate only at the time the check was carried out.
The Church in Wales expects everyone who works for the church, both lay and ordained and whether volunteer or paid, to undertake a new DBS check every three years, or sooner if there is evidence that the individual’s criminal record has changed since their last check, so you might be asked to apply for further checks during your time with the Church in Wales. A new DBS check is also needed if an existing employee or volunteer is being considered for a different role that requires a DBS check at a different level
What is the DBS update service?
The DBS update service is an online subscription service that lets an applicant keep their enhanced DBS certificate up-to-date and, with the applicant’s consent, allows employers to carry out a free-of-charge instant online ‘status check’ to find out whether the information contained on the DBS certificate is current.
The Church in Wales supports the use of the DBS update service for the checking of criminal record disclosure information in relation to both new recruitment and existing appointments, where the role is eligible for an enhanced DBS check. Anyone requiring a new enhanced DBS check for a role within the Church in Wales will be encouraged to subscribe to the DBS update service as part of the application process.
It is the agreed policy of the Bench of Bishops that all Church in Wales clergy should register for the update service.
The Church in Wales requires DBS checks to be renewed every three years but employees and volunteers who subscribe to the update service do not need to renew their enhanced DBS check if they remain in the same role or move to new role that requires the same type and level of check.
The update service cannot currently be used for basic checks.
Benefits of subscribing to the update service are that you can take your DBS certificate from role to role (if within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required) and that employers can carry out instant online status checks on DBS certificates that are linked to your subscription. The employer can only make the status check if the role you will be working in is also eligible for an enhanced DBS check. There is no charge for the organisation to carry out an online status check using the update service.
The DBS update service is free of charge for volunteers but has an annual fee of £13 for employees and stipendiary clergy (including ordinands). The Church in Wales will reimburse the cost of the annual subscription whilst you remain in the role for which the DBS check is required and provide your consent to the Church in Wales carrying out status checks using the update service. Please contact the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team to enquire about reimbursement.
You can register for the update service while in the process of applying for an enhanced DBS check. You will need your application reference number and the DBS must receive the completed application within twenty-eight days.
If you already have an enhanced DBS certificate you must use the certificate number to register for the update service within thirty days of the original enhanced DBS certificate being issued.
You cannot subscribe to the update service if you do not register within thirty days of the original enhanced DBS certificate being issued and if you let your annual subscription lapse you will need to undertake a fresh DBS application before you can register for the update service again.
Once registered for the update service, you are able to manage your own subscription online and can check the certificates that you have registered with the service, add or remove certificates, view organisations that have used the service to check your certificate, update contact details and renew or cancel your subscription.
When you have registered for the update service, you must inform the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team that you have completed the subscription process and give the Representative Body of the Church in Wales ongoing permission to check your disclosure online using the DBS update service.
You can withdraw your permission for the Church in Wales to carry out a status check at any time by contacting the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team. If you leave the role in which you were working or volunteering for the Church in Wales or if your role changes and you are no longer working with children or adults at risk in a regulated activity or a role that requires an enhanced DBS check, you should contact the Church in Wales DBS Administration Team to notify your withdrawal of consent. Please be aware that the Church in Wales will reimburse the cost of the DBS update service subscription only whilst it has your permission to conduct status checks.
For basic checks, an applicant can register for an online services account instead of using the update service.
What about DBS certificates from previous roles?
The Church in Wales does not accept DBS certificates obtained for roles outside the Church in Wales in lieu of a new check unless you are registered with the DBS Update Service.
If you are registered with the DBS Update Service then you will be able to transfer your DBS certificate from a previous role unless:
- you need a certificate for a different type of ‘workforce’ (for example, you have an ‘adult workforce’ certificate and need a ‘child workforce’ certificate)
- you need a different level certificate (for example, you have a basic DBS certificate and need an enhanced one)
Please tell your recruiting manager if you are registered with the Update Service and the DBS Administrator will contact you to assess whether or not you need a new check. The DBS Administrator will:
- check that your identity matches the details on the certificate
- check the certificate is the right level and type for the position concerned
- check to see if anything has changed since you registered for the update service.
Where can I find more information about DBS checks?
A series of DBS guidance leaflets that provide information about regulated activity, eligibility and DBS checks for people working with adults and children in the charity sector can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dbs-guidance-leaflets