New year, new job? December is traditionally a very slow month in the jobs market as recruiters and applicants are on holiday, at staff Christmas lunches or generally just winding down towards the end of the year. However, many companies start their new financial year at the beginning of January and may still be recruiting during the festive season. If the jobs you are looking at require a DBS check, is there anything specific which you need to know about getting a DBS check at Christmas?


Staff Leave

The main issue to contend with when doing anything with businesses in December is that many people will be on leave. Some smaller businesses will shut completely just before Christmas and will not open again until the New Year. If you are trying to make an appointment to go in and see someone with your identity documents, find out when they’re available and don’t just assume they won’t be on holiday. Identity verification can only be done by designated people within an organisation; it’s not a task which can just be delegated to anyone if you’re away on holiday.


Delays at DBS Too?

Obviously, staff at the DBS processing centre in Liverpool, or the similar organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland will want to take leave over the Christmas period too. They don’t shut down completely, but the lower number of staff might mean processing takes a little longer than otherwise. But this should be balanced again the lower number of applications which come into the organisation in December too. Overall, processing times in December don’t drop significantly as the DBS and other organisations have taken steps to make sure there are sufficient staff available at all times.


Postal Service

Even if you submit your DBS application online, the postal service still has its role to play. All DBS certificates are sent out in the mail; there’s no option to log in and download your own certificate unless you’ve signed up for the Update service. Christmas is the busiest time of the year for Royal Mail, and although they recruit significant numbers of Christmas temps, some delays are inevitable. There are also some days during the festive season when no deliveries of mail are made at all. There’s not much you can do to speed up the Royal Mail in these circumstances. However, you can made sure your application is submitted as early as possible to minimise delay.


Starting Work Pending DBS

If your employer is keen for you to start as soon as possible but the festive delays are conspiring against you, can you start work while your certificate is still being processed? That very much depends on your employer and their policies. Larger organisations might be happy for you to start and complete induction or other training while you wait. In roles where you will be working with children or vulnerable adults from the off, this is less likely to be possible. All you can do is ask as legally the employer doesn’t have to let you start.