Every so often, there’s a news story about someone who has lost out on their dream job because of delays in processing their DBS certificate. The government had set targets for disclosure processing times and although performance has improved considerably over the past couple of years, a significant minority of checks are still taking a lot longer than the main target of 14 days. If you’re caught up in DBS delays what are your rights?

 

Starting Work

The main concern which applicants have is whether or not they can start work while they wait for their DBS check to come through. Unfortunately, this is one of these questions which has no simple yes or no answer. In the case of a large employer with hundreds of staff, it might work in their favour to allow staff to start pending a DBS check and undertake training or other work until they receive their certificate. In smaller employers this might not be possible.

Much will also depend on the type of work being considered. Some occupations are termed “regulated activity”, which means that anyone employed needs a standard or enhanced disclosure. This type of work usually covers working with children or vulnerable adults in caring or education. Again, some employers might be able to pair up new members of staff with experienced workers pending a check, but this is not guaranteed.

 

Speeding Up DBS Checks

Unlike other official documents, there is no way of “fast-tracking” your DBS application. So if your employer is refusing to allow you to start work without that precious piece of paper, there is no buying your way out of the situation. However, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to maximise your chances of being in that group of checks which gets through on target.

The best way of making sure that your application goes through as quickly as possible is with the application form. The form is not complicated or designed to catch you out. But a surprisingly high number of people make mistakes. Take extra care to properly read the instructions on the form and be clear what they are looking for in each field. Particular care should be taken over the addresses field and names. Give all addresses going back five years, including postcodes. For names, give all names you have previously been known as. This includes both given and family names. If you have any doubts about what to list, call for advice. A recent change in DBS rules means that forms with incorrect address and name information are being rejected outright.

 

Proof Checking

If you are unfamiliar with the DBS form, or just aren’t great at completing paperwork, then it makes sense to get someone to check the form over before you put it in the post or hit submit. Any problems with the form will either mean it is rejected outright and you have to start over again, or the DBS will have to contact you for clarification. Either way, it’s going to take longer.