The UK has fairly relaxed rules about what you can call yourself. Many people have one official name on their birth certificate or passport and use another name in everyday life. Officially changing your name by deed poll costs only around £44, and as long as you don’t want to change your name to something offensive or obscene, you are free to swap names as often as you like. It’s also common practice for women to change their surnames when they marry, and to change it back again if they later divorce. But how does all this affect the DBS application process?
All Past Names
The key phrase which anyone should be aware of on the DBS application form is around all past names. The DBS need to know all of the names which you have previously used, so if you have changed your surname on marriage you will have to give your birth surname too. People who have changed their names by deed poll should give their full previous name too. If you are, for example, John Philip Smith but are known as Philip rather than John, then you should state that too. Failing to state all of your past names could lead to your application being rejected or held up considerably as the police try to investigate why they can’t find anything about you on their records.
Changing Names After a DBS Check
Many professions require DBS checking on a regular basis, usually every three years but sometimes more frequently. It is easy to imagine a scenario where someone has a DBS check, and then a couple of months later gets married, or decides to change their first name. What happens to their DBS certificate under these circumstances? There is no law that says DBS checks should be done again when someone changes their name. Employers should be informed of the name change though, so they can make a note on their system that the DBS number they hold in the name of Sarah Jones now applies to Sarah Andrews. This is usually not an issue in a smaller organisation where everyone knows each other, but in larger bodies with thousands of employees it can cause real confusion.
Some employers may have a policy of asking staff members who change their name to get another DBS certificate to reflect their new identity. This is exactly the same process as applying for an entirely new check, and the same fees apply. Remember to give both your previous and new name when completing the form, taking care to list your new name first.
Everyone’s situation is different, and if you have a complex history of name changes then it’s best to seek advice from the experts when completing a DBS form to help avoid confusion and delay. The DBS provide customer support by phone and email and have recently launched a webchat facility too. Always seek expert advice rather than trying to guess as a rejected form will cost you both money and time.