In response to the increased demand for frontline healthcare workers in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic that’s swept the UK, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is now providing standard and enhanced CRB checks free-of-charge.

This benefit applies to healthcare and social workers in England and Wales who are being recruited for roles that provides the care and treatment of COVID-19 patients. No fee is payable either for fast-tracking the barred list for those working with the vulnerable.

No fee is payable and a fast-track Barred List check will be provided where required, in relation to an application made.


How does it work?

If the candidate is eligible then the Disclosure and Barring Service team will check the application against the adult and children’s barred lists within 24 hours of receiving it. As the registered body applying for the clearance, it will be returned to you. The application progress for the enhanced certificate will then proceed and it will be printed and sent within the normal timescale of about five working days.

If there is no match against the barred list, you, as a recruiter, can employ the applicant immediately into a role that has regulated activity with the vulnerable, such as the young and the elderly. This can continue while the full enhanced CRB check is being carried out. You are expected to ensure that the appropriate safeguarding measures are in place.


Emergency planning risk assessment guidelines

Here is some information that should help when recruiting key workers who will be working with the vulnerable:

Before applying for new DBS checks, here are some key facts and prompts to inform your emergency-planning risk assessment:

  • Nearly all standard and enhanced checks come back clear of any convictions
  • Only 0.02 percent of enhanced with barred list checks will indicate that the applicant is on the barred list.
  • If the candidate has had an enhanced DBS check in the past three years and is for the same line of work, such as working with children or the elderly, then it is acceptable to use this, which is seen as a “current check”.
  • If the candidate subscribes to the DBS’s Update Service, then it is acceptable to use their original certificate to check with the Update Service.


Online application form

As a recruiter you can fill in the application online for a standard, enhanced or enhanced with barred list. You will be asked for the applicant’s full name, date of birth, current address, as well as the position they are applying for. This application will be submitted as a volunteer application.

If the application is without a barred lists request, then it will not be fast-tracked, but an enhanced CRB check with a barred list request will be emailed you within 24 hours or the next working day.


What you can do if you are a candidate

  • If you have a current enhanced DBS check including the barred list information, then make sure you have it at hand to provide even at interview stage. This will save the recruiter precious time processing a check all over again.
  • Check the date on your last CRB check. If it was taken more than three years ago, it is out of date and the recruiter will have to apply for a new one.
  • Remember that the current temporary fast-track checks won’t be eligible for the Update Service. Under normal circumstances the enhanced checks with barred lists take about five working days and used as a basis for the Update Service.