Even before the pandemic hit the UK, the DBS was looking for new ways to communicate with people who have questions about their service or want to track the progress of their application. As part of the more general shift to online services across government departments, the DBS announced the roll-out of a new webchat service for DBS applicants back in April 2022.


Service Availability

The new webchat service launched for DBS customers in England and Wales on 25th April 2022 and gives another option for getting real-time information from DBS staff, in addition to the current communication options of email, letter and phone. Customers can use the simple webchat interface to communicate directly with the customer service team at the DBS, without the need for making phone calls.

Initially, the webchat service will be available on weekdays between 10am and 4pm. The service is designed as a general customer services option, allowing customers to make general enquiries about the DBS form, whether a DBS check is required, or to get guidance on their individual circumstances as regards the application process. The staff will also be able to help with signing up for DBS Update, or with technical issues around logging into the website or resetting passwords. They can also give guidance about the process for making Barring Referrals, and the situations under which these might be needed.


Specific Queries

The Disclosure and Barring Service do not intend for this new webchat to be used for specific enquiries on already submitted forms. The webchat staff will not be able to give information about how long an individual DBS check is expected to take or give specific information on a dispute or complaint. People who wish to raise these types of specific queries with the DBS should still use the customer services number to speak directly to a member of staff.


Why Contact the DBS?

There are lots of reasons why a customer may want to contact the DBS, but perhaps the most common scenario is requiring assistance with a field on the application form. Since the DBS changed its processes a couple of years ago, applications which have errors in the names and addresses field are often rejected outright. The DBS wants to see all of an applicant’s previous names listed, and a full address history for the past 5 years. These requirements can cause confusion, especially for people who have moved house frequently, have had no fixed abode for several months, or who have had an extended period working or living overseas. In these situations, it is always wise to seek clarification from the DBS rather than guessing the best answer, as getting it wrong could be time-consuming and expensive. Seek expert advice direct from the DBS if possible.

Tracking your application is easy too if you use the DBS’s online services, which can say which stage in the process your application has reached, allowing you to calculate an approximate delivery window for your paperwork.