DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

DBS Checks is a leading umbrella body for the Disclosure and Barring Service and has been named one of the top 8 providers for criminal record checks in the UK.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Social Media

Our Products

get in touch with us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How Long Does a DBS Check Take?

Oct 4, 2023 | DBS

If you’re applying to a new role, volunteer position, or even applying for a liquor license, a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check often comes into play. 

A DBS check, formerly known as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, is a crucial safeguarding step that helps ensure the safety and security of vulnerable individuals, especially within fields that involve regular contact with children or vulnerable adults. But how long does a DBS check actually take? On average, a DBS check takes 14 days to process, but this timeline can be affected by a number of factors. Let’s delve into the process and explore the factors involved.

Understanding the DBS Check Process

A DBS check is a background screening that reveals an individual’s criminal history, helping employers and organisations make informed decisions about recruitment or engagement. The check is divided into three levels: Basic DBS Check, Standard DBS Check, and Enhanced DBS Check. 

The level required depends on the nature of the role you’re applying for. The Basic check is the most basic and provides a summary of any unspent convictions. The Standard and Enhanced checks provide more comprehensive information, including spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings. Enhanced DBS checks show spent and unspent convictions and cautions, as well as, if requested, inclusions on the children’s and/or adults’ barred lists. Local police forces may also check their databases and release extra information about the applicant.

The DBS checking process involves the following steps:

  • Application Submission: The applicant fills out the necessary forms, providing personal information and consenting to the background check. A DBS application can be made by individuals for basic DBS checks, but the other types require the recruiter or organisation to request the check. 
  • Check Initiation: The application is submitted to the DBS or a registered Umbrella Body, like DBS Checks Online, to process the application.
  • Certificate Issuance: Once the background check is completed, a DBS certificate is issued and sent to the applicant’s registered address.

Factors Influencing the Timelines

As previously mentioned, the time it takes to receive a DBS certificate can vary due to several factors. These include the following:

1. Level of Check

  • Basic check: This is usually the quickest and will generally be completed within 24-48 hours; however, there are times when the application can take longer (up to 14 days) to process, such as when internal queries are brought up.
  • Standard or Enhanced check: These checks involve more in-depth scrutiny and can take longer, often ranging from 2 weeks to a few months, particularly if police records are required from the Police National Computer. With DBS Checks Online, most applications will be processed and completed within 24 hours. However, it may take up to 5 days for the process to be completed.

2. Accuracy of Information

If the provided information isn’t accurate or complete, it can lead to delays as authorities try to verify the details. This can also lead to having to reapply.

3. Workload and Backlog

The workload of both the DBS and the processing organisation can impact the processing time. During busy periods, such as back-to-school seasons, processing times might be longer.

4. Police Database Checks

The speed of the background check can be influenced by how quickly local police force databases respond to requests for information. As several police forces may be required to check the applicant’s information against their databases, this is an area where DBS certificates often get held up.

DBS Checks & Criminal Record Checks

Tips for a Smooth DBS Check Process

To ensure a timely DBS process, consider the following:

  • Provide accurate information when completing the DBS application form
  • Begin the process as soon as possible to allow for any potential delays
  • Communicate with your employer or the processing body to address any queries promptly
  • If there are significant delays, don’t hesitate to follow up with the appropriate authorities or your employer
  • If you have a criminal record, prepare to discuss it with your potential employer and highlight the steps you’ve taken toward rehabilitation

In Conclusion

The duration of a DBS check varies based on factors such as the level of check, the accuracy of information, workload, and more. While the Basic check is generally quicker, the Standard and Enhanced checks can take longer due to the comprehensive nature of the screening. 

Regardless of the timeline, it’s important to remember that the DBS check aims to maintain the safety of vulnerable individuals, making it a crucial step in certain job applications and volunteer positions. By understanding the process and being prepared, you can navigate the DBS check journey more smoothly and confidently!

If you would like to apply for DBS checks, please get in touch with us today. We are always happy to help organisations and individuals apply for easy, online DBS checks.



A Guide To DBS Checks For Security Guards

Security guards play an important role in ensuring the safety of individuals and physical assets. Considering the high levels of trust and responsibility their roles embody, it’s essential that employers ensure their integrity.  One tool that can be used to do this is...

read more
A Guide To DBS Checks For The Self-Employed

A Guide To DBS Checks For The Self-Employed

If you’ve ever applied for a job, you have most likely undergone a DBS check. Once completed, you are issued with a certificate that contains information about your criminal history. This information is often used by employers to assess whether you’re a suitable...

read more
The Importance of DBS Checks for Taxi Drivers

The Importance of DBS Checks for Taxi Drivers

As parking becomes harder to find and traffic longer to sit through, fewer people choose to buy cars, and the public transportation industry continues to evolve. Taxi and private hire services play a vital role in providing convenient and reliable transportation...

read more