Although your disclosure certificate doesn’t come with an expiry date, most employers will have their own policies about how often they want staff to go through the process again. This time period will depend on the employer and the type of work but is typically anything between three and five years. If you’ve already gone through the process when you initially started work, then you should have a rough idea of what to expect when it comes to renewal. It’s worth taking time to understand what you need to do though, as everything may have changed since the last time you applied for a disclosure check or made a CRB application.


Not Everyone Needs to Renew

Before we start thinking about the process for renewing your DBS certificate, it’s important to recognise that not all people need to jump through this hoop. In some professions, the requirement is for an initial disclosure check to enter the profession. Checks are not repeated unless the person concerned de-registers as an accountant or lawyer and wishes to join the register again at a later date. Other positions may have similar rules, such as being on the committee of a charity or holding a gambling licence. These positions are the exception rather than the rule though, and most people will have to renew their DBS check every few years.


Why Renew?

DBS certificates are produced using whatever information is available on the police national computer on the date the checks are carried out. Anything which comes to light after that date can’t then be added to the certificate. Although the Disclosure and Barring Service have a real-time database service called DBS Update, the subscription fees and lack of knowledge about the system make many employers reluctant to sign up for it and pay membership fees for employees. So, the only way of checking whether staff members are still suitable for their roles is to repeat the DBS checks after a set period of time.


Process for Renewal

The bad news when it comes to renewals is that there are no short-cuts. There is no special renewal process to cut down administration or the requirement to provide lots of identity documents. The form is just the same for renewing as it is for making a new application, although you may be asked to provide the number of your existing DBS certificate too, in order to make checking easier. The main trap people fall into with the application form is assuming that it will be just the same as the first time they completed it. The basic information required such as name history, address date of birth won’t change, but there may be other changes made to the form over time. It’s always good advice to take the time to read the form through from start to finish before starting to fill it in.


Proving Your Identity for Renewal

It does seem strange to ask someone to prove who they are, especially when they have been working for the company for several years. But it’s an essential step in the process and designed to make life harder for people who are not who they say they are, or who have something to hide. The same rules apply here as for the initial application to the DBS. There is a long list of documents on their website which you can use to verify your identity. You can use whichever documents you have to support your application – they don’t need to be the same items which you used originally, or completely different ones. You will however need to get up to date copies of things like P60 or utility bills as the requirement is for documents dated within the last three months. It’s worth looking at this as soon as possible, as it might take a while to contact your electricity company or bank and ask them to send through new hard copies of bills or statements.


Working While Waiting for Renewal

Some companies may not allow you to start work until your first disclosure certificate arrives, although many will let you start under supervision, or to carry out training. If you’ve already gone through the disclosure process once and have been working without issue for several years, then your employer is not going to ask you not to come to work until your new certificate arrives in the post. For most companies it’s just an administrative step, and another piece of paperwork which needs to be completed after a set period of time.


Top Tips for Renewal

For most people, the renewal process is straightforward and nothing to be afraid of. Take your time and read the form all the way through before starting to fill it in. If you are unsure of anything, seek help from your employer, or contact the DBS helpline for specific advice.