Portable criminal record checks introduced June 2013

04 August 2013
Portable criminal record checks introduced June 2013

From 14 June 2013, disclosure and barring service checks (formerly CRB checks) become portable. But what does this mean in practice?

The Update Service

The government launches its new Update Service from 14 June 2013. Through the Update Service, individual applicants can register so that any updates to their criminal record can be instantly checked online by current or prospective employers and volunteer-involving organisations, minimising the need to take out repeat DBS checks.

Registering for the Update Service
Applicants must register for the Update Service when they make a new DBS check, or at the latest, within 14 days of a new DBS certificate being issued to them. It is not possible for the applicant to sign up to the Update Service without applying for a new DBS check.

Where a DBS check is applied for via an umbrella body which uses the e-bulk service, applicants will only be able to sign up to the Update Service once they have received their DBS certificate. This means that applicants (and organisations) have a short window to ensure this happens.

Volunteers can register for the Update Service for free. However employees must pay a charge of £13 per year. Employees can choose to reimburse this fee to the applicant.

Only applicants can register for the Update Service. Employers and volunteer-involving organisations cannot do this on applicants' behalf.

Checking criminal records using the Update Service
To make an instant status check via the Update Service, organisations will need:

  • To be legally entitled to take out a DBS check for the role. See more information here
  • A recruitment of ex-offenders policy which complies with the DBS code of practice and is available to the applicant
  • Written or verbal consent from the applicant
  • The original DBS certificate in order to check: (i) the certificate number; (ii) the name of the certificate matches the identity of the individual; (iii) the convictions originally disclosed on the certificate; and (iv) to ensure the original certificate applies to the same workforce as the new check is intended for (ie. child workforce, adult workforce or the child and adult workforce).

If these requirements cannot be satisfied, a new DBS check will need to be undertaken.

What actions should employers take if they wish to use the Update Service?

  • adapt your recruitment procedures to ensure that applicants are prompted to register with the Update Service within 14 days of receiving their DBS certificate
  • ensure there is a clear process to reimburse expenses to staff and volunteers, for example via your organisation's expenses policy
  • ensure your organisation has a recruitment of ex-offenders policy. An example is available via gov.uk
  • ensure recruiting staff understand when the Update Service can and cannot be used to check an applicant's criminal record status.

For further information, see the safeguarding section of HRBird.

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