It would be hard to draw up a list of ways in which everyday life was not affected by the coronavirus from March 2020 onwards. Recruitment was heavily hit, and everyone had to get used to new ways of proving identities online when applicants needed a DBS check. Regular changes in the rules made it difficult for employers and applicants to keep up.

One of the main changes made in the early months of the pandemic was a system for fast-tracking applications for people wishing to work in the NHS or in similar settings such as care homes. Not only were those applications pushed to the front of the queue to get them processed quickly, but fees were also waived for applicants. The idea was to make it as easy as possible to get new staff into posts in hospitals and ease the burden on everyone else. The government has brought this process for free and quick DBS checking for healthcare workers to an end, with any applications received after 11 May 2023 reverting to the old system.


NHS Standard Process

Before the pandemic, there was no separate process for workers needing a DBS check for healthcare roles, and this is the system which will be adopted going forwards. People who apply for a job in a healthcare role which needs a DBS check will be guided through the process by their employer. Usually, the requirement to have a DBS check is stated clearly on the job advertisement too. As one of the UK’s largest employers, the recruitment team at the NHS are well-versed in getting checks for new workers. Each NHS Trust will have their own method, but the basic process is the same. The applicant will fill in their application form, usually online but sometimes paper copies are still used. They will then provide some basic forms of identification such as driving licence, passport, or a utility bill to the HR department to verify who they are. The application is then passed to the DBS, who liaise with the Police to establish whether the applicant has any record which could be of concern when working in a hospital or similar setting.


Adult First DBS Applications

Part of the recent changes to the DBS system mean that the fast-track option for NHS checks have been removed, and NHS workers face the same processing times as everyone else. Delays have been improving in recent months, and Clear Check can help you make sure that you get all the details correct on the form and maximise your chances of getting the form processed swiftly. The other option is to look at an Adult First application. This is a preliminary checking system which involves an initial scan of the list of people barred from certain occupations before proceeding to the full DBS check. In some circumstances, a clear Adult First check means that workers can start employment straight away while waiting for their full certificate to arrive some weeks later in the post.