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How Long Do DBS Checks Take? The Process Explained

How Long Do DBS Checks Take?

Here at uCheck, one of the most common questions we’re asked is: how long does a DBS Check take?

For many companies, their recruitment decisions may rely on the return of a DBS certificate, so it’s understandable that processing time is a key issue for employers and applicants.

To address that issue, we’ve come up with a guide to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) vetting process, so that employers can be clear about the process itself, why applications can take longer to process, and how employers can help to speed applications up.

What’s involved in the DBS vetting process?

The level of check you request for an applicant will affect the vetting process, and also the average time taken for the check to complete.

DBS Checks go through up to five stages of vetting before they are complete. The number of vetting stages depends on the level of check.

Standard DBS Checks will go through the following vetting stages:

  • Stage 1 – DBS application received and validated
  • Stage 2 – Police National Computer search
  • Stage 3 – Certificate printing

Enhanced DBS Checks will go through the following stages:

  • Stage 1 – DBS application received and validated
  • Stage 2 – Police National Computer search
  • Stage 3 – Children’s and adults’ barred lists searches (if applicable)
  • Stage 4 – Local police authority search
  • Stage 5 – Certificate printing

What can cause delays in the process?

At uCheck, our average turnaround time for DBS Checks is just 48 hours. However, occasionally a DBS Check takes longer to process. This can be for a number of reasons. Below we’ve outlined some of the common reasons for delays:

Incorrect information

One of the most common reasons for application delays is incorrect information being submitted. This often means that the DBS has to query the information submitted, which will cause delays in the process.

Local police delays

Sometimes the delay can be caused by the local police authorities which Enhanced DBS Checks are sent to at Stage 4. Some local police forces have a backlog of applications, which can cause delays in the process.

Fortunately, this is not usually an issue, but it’s worth bearing in mind and can help explain why some applications take longer than others.

No clear reason

Sometimes a check can be delayed for no apparent reason. This is likely due to delays in searches, or further investigation that’s needed. But it’s important to note that a delayed application doesn’t necessarily mean there will be anything disclosed on the DBS certificate.

How to speed DBS applications up

Bearing in mind there can be delays with DBS applications, how can you best ensure that your DBS application won’t take too long to process?

Here are some tips for avoiding delays with your DBS Check:

  • Ensure all the information you submit is correct, and that no information has been missed. Doing this is likely to avoid unnecessary delays and also costly mistakes, as a new DBS certificate may be required if information is subsequently discovered to be incorrect.
  • Use an online provider like uCheck. As we process applications online, there are no postal delays, often meaning applications start vetting the same day.
  • Answer any queries promptly. If you do receive any queries regarding the application, try to resolve them promptly. Once the correct information has been passed on, the DBS application will often start processing again straight away.

How long does a DBS Check take? A summary

So, how long does a DBS Check take?

As we’ve seen, the processing time for DBS Checks depends on the level of check requested, but also whether anything delays the application, such as delays at your local police force.

With our online system, your DBS Check is likely to be processed quicker – our average turnaround time for all DBS Checks is just 48 hours.

However, unfortunately, applications can take longer to process. It’s worth bearing this in mind when deciding when to request a DBS Check.

Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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