How Long does a DBS Check Take?

dbs taking long time

  • How long do DBS checks take?
  • What are the reasons for delays in the DBS checking process?
  • What can employers do to speed up a DBS check?

If you are looking for answers to all of these questions, then fear not. We are here to help you. You needn’t worry!

In this blog we’ll be looking at the key aspects of the DBS application process, as well as give you some valuable advice on how to speed up the DBS tracking process. Our valuable insight will hopefully ease any concerns you may have about how long a DBS check takes to come back.


DBS Check Delays

Here are some of the most common causes for delays in the DBS process:

  • Paper application forms. One decision that will impact how long a DBS check takes is how it is submitted. It’s increasingly common to complete a DBS check online, but there are some applications which are still submitted by paper. DBS paper application forms will, as expected, take longer to process. Not just because of the time taken to post the DBS application, but a form with queries or discrepancies would have to be returned via post to be corrected before any countersigning can be done, which would cause further delays.
  • Form errors. Individuals and employers should always make sure the details on any DBS application form are correct, accurate and up-to-date. Any errors on the form will need to be corrected, which can lead to delays in the processing time. Common examples include missing middle names, not declaring previous names or addresses, or requests for extra clarification from the applicant.
  • Police forces. From the time local police forces are sent a DBS check application, there is an expected amount of processing time that the force needs to verify the details on the application. Turnaround times can vary (you can view the average turnaround times for DBS checks at each police force here), and performance can depend on staffing within the force, system or process changes and any variations in demand for DBS checks at a particular time of the year.
  • Stage 4. Tying in with the previous point, at stage 4 of the DBS online application, this is when your DBS check is sent to your local police force and is compared against your criminal record. Any relevant information that requires disclosure will be included in the certificate. Some police forces are dealing with backlogs due to limited staffing, which can mean your DBS check may not be seen for several days, sometimes even weeks.


Avoid Unnecessary Delays

By taking steps to ensure that your application is going to be processed as quickly as possible, you might end up saving more time than you realise. As we have seen there are several factors which cause DBS checks to take longer than expected. Here are some key tips to avoid delays and speed up your DBS check:

  • Apply for DBS checks online. A DBS online application is simpler, faster and more convenient than dealing with a paper DBS application form. You can apply for all three levels of disclosure (Basic, Standard and Enhanced) depending on your needs, all via the web. The applications can be sent instantly, so there is no risk of postal delays.
  • Check and double-check (and double-check again). It may sound rather condescending but ensuring every relevant piece of information about the applicant is correct is really important. We are all aware of how to spell our own names (we do it enough times), but even one misspelling could lead to unexpected delays. Being that little bit extra vigilant when submitting a DBS application form could save you buckets of time.
  • Sign up to the DBS Update Service. This yearly subscription service lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up-to-date and allows employers to check DBS certificates. A DBS check can be registered online once an application reference number has been received. The service costs £13.00 per month.
  • Choose a company who can countersign and query applications quickly. Online DBS Checks offer a fast and simple DBS checking service. All of our checks are processed online and using our unique, professional services, we provide timely results. Our service is available to individuals as well as employers dealing with multiple DBS checks, the latter of which we offer a Fast Track DBS service to. Read more about that here.


How Long Does a DBS Take?

As per our FAQs, we aim to process Basic DBS checks within 5-10 working days after they have been submitted, with the certificate being sent via post. Standard DBS checks are completed by the police and the DBS, who will issue certificates directly to the applicant, with the expected turnaround time of 48 hours once submitted. Enhanced DBS checks are also completed by the police and the DBS but because these checks are more detailed, the average turnaround time is also 5-10 working days.

Please not we cannot guarantee a definite turnaround time for any DBS checks.

If you are applying for an online DBS check, here is our very simple submission process to guide you:

  1. Select DBS check option.
  2. Make payment.
  3. Complete form.
  4. Verify ID.
  5. Receive results.

Should you need further information or if you have any questions, please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

Posted in DBS Check