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Why is my DBS check stuck at Stage 4?

Why is my DBS stuck at stage 4? This is a common question that our team is asked, and we’re here to answer it. To gain a better understanding, it’s best to go through the stages of DBS checks first, so we can then take a look at why DBS stage 4 sometimes has delays.

What are the stages of DBS?

There are typically 5 stages of DBS which are:

Stage 1: Application received and validated – This is where paper and online applications are checked and validated, usually for errors, omissions or incompletion. Then with paper applications, the form is scanned onto the DBS system.

Stage 2: Police National Computer (PNC) searched – Data from the application is checked against the PNC to see if there are any matches. If there isn’t then it’ll be moved to stage 3.

Stage 3: Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists – Data from the application is checked against the Barred Lists to see if there are any matches.

Stage 4: Search of records held by the police – DBS stage 4 involved enhanced DBS checks being sent to the police for an additional check of records. This is then sent back to the DBS. This stage is to make sure potential matches are not missed, which is why police forces check the details again against the information that they have.

Stage 5: DBS certificate printed – The final stage is where the information that needs to be disclosed is included on the certificate and printed, then posted to the applicant.

How long does stage 4 DBS take?

The time that a DBS certificate spends at stage 4 can vary. This is due to a collection of different reasons, and this is what the DBS has to say about DBS stage 4:

“Throughout this process, the police may need to gather information from other organisations. Police performance can also vary month-by-month as a result of any combination of factors. This means that some applications for DBS checks may take longer.”

If the application spends longer than 60 days at stage 4, then it can be requested to check if the application can be sped up.

Reasons why checks are stuck at DBS stage 4

Here are some reasons why your DBS check may be stuck at stage 4:

Personal details have changed

If the applicant has had other names, whether that’s first name or surname, then this can potentially cause delays, as police will need to check details against all given names.

Police delays

With some police forces having a backlog of applications to process, this could mean it takes longer for them to begin checking new applications. This could be for a range of reasons, from staffing to other internal issues. 

Previous Addresses

Perhaps the biggest cause of delay at DBS stage 4 is how many previous addresses the applicant has had. This is because if addresses fall within different local police forces, then each force will have to check its own records.

DBS checks with uCheck

Get your employee’s DBS checks with uCheck! We provide numerous levels of DBS checks including Basic, Standard and Enhanced. And with our simple pay-as-you-go billing, you only pay for what you need.

With uCheck, you get:

  • Rapid turnaround – 24/48 hours on average
  • Trusted by over 30,000 happy customers
  • Secure, Home Office approved system

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any more questions – we’d be more than happy to help.

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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