In response to Covid-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and the Home Office have put temporary measures in place to provide emergency DBS Check processing for specific roles.
The measures enable people working in these roles to have Standard or Enhanced DBS Checks free of charge, as well as fast-track emergency checks of the adults’ and/or children’s barred list(s).
Which roles are eligible for emergency DBS Checks?
The emergency measures apply to healthcare and social care workers in England and Wales who are being recruited in relation to the provision of care and treatment of coronavirus.
They also apply to healthcare and social care workers being recruited to backfill roles due to the impact of coronavirus.
This includes people who are registered, or who the appropriate authority is considering registering, as:
- Nurses, midwives and nursing associates
- Social workers
- Medical practitioners
- Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians
- Members of relevant professions under the Health Professions Order 2001
- Emergency volunteers in health and social care under the Coronavirus Act 2020
The emergency checks may also be used for the purpose of determining an applicant’s suitability for employment to provide NHS health services or social care services relating to coronavirus.
For more details on which roles are eligible, see the government’s guidance.
Free-of-charge DBS Checks: how do they work?
People carrying out eligible roles can have a Standard, Enhanced or Enhanced with barred list DBS Check free of charge. The uCheck administration fee still applies to these checks.
These free checks will be processed within the usual timescales. The average turnaround time for the DBS remains at an average of 48 hours.
Fast-track emergency barred list checks: how do they work?
Fast-track emergency processing applies only to checks of the adults’ and/or children’s barred list(s).
When a free-of-charge Enhanced with barred list check is requested for someone in an eligible role, the DBS will check the applicant against the adults’ and/or children’s barred list(s) within 72 hours.
The registered body that submitted the check will then receive the result back by the end of the next working day.
The rest of the DBS Check will then carry on as normal, and will be completed within the usual timescales.
If there is no match against the barred list, the applicant’s employer may appoint them into regulated activity with adults and/or children while they wait for their full DBS certificate.
If the employer chooses to do this, they must put appropriate measures in place to manage the new recruit until they receive their DBS certificate.
When to apply for Covid-19 Emergency Checks
Free-of-charge DBS Checks and fast-track barred list checks must only be used by organisations when recruiting staff who meet the eligibility criteria.
Any other employees or volunteers who are eligible for DBS Checks should be processed in the usual way. Misuse of the Covid-19 emergency processing may mean eligible checks are delayed.
How to apply for Covid-19 emergency checks
If your organisation requires Covid-19 emergency checks, you can apply through uCheck via our easy-to-use online system.
If you’re applying for a free-of-charge DBS Check, these checks will be free of Disclosure charges, meaning the only fee payable is the uCheck administration fee.