The first part of any DBS check id to prove you are who you say you are. This is the case whether you’re applying to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales, Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) in Scotland or AccessNI in Northern Ireland. The process might vary slightly, but usually involves going along in person to an approved person in the organisation where you’ll be working with your documents, so that they can verify that your documents are authentic and that the person in the photographs is indeed you. In most cases this is easy, and just means a short journey into town to your new employer. If, however you’re applying for a job many miles away, or can’t get time off to travel for an appointment, it can be tricky. One option is to send originals in the post, but what happens if your passport, marriage certificate and driving licence get lost in the post or misplaced by your employer? One way round this is by using the Post Office’s verification service, which solves a lot of these issues.
What is Verification?
In simple terms, this is a process whereby someone working in the Post Office performs the same role as the person in your employer’s business. They will look at your original documents and the photocopies which you have provided, then stamp and sign them to certify that the originals have been seen and that the copies are true and legitimate copies. You can then safely send off the authorised copies to submit for your DBS checks and keep the originals somewhere safe at home.
How Do I Access the Service?
Identity checking is available at all UK post offices, and at a standard charge. The Post Office will check and certify the following documents:
- Driving licence
- Utility Bills
- Bank statements
The same charge of £10.50 applies for up to three documents at a time; any more than that and you’ll have to pay another fee. Payments have to be made in cash, not by cheque or card. You’ll also have the cost of having the documents photocopied in the first place. The Post Office can check and verify documents for many other purposes too, not just for DBS and similar.
Alternatives to the Post Office
There are some other officials which are allowed to verify documents as true copies. Solicitors are the most obvious example of this, and if you have a good relationship with your local solicitor or lawyer they might be prepared to verify your documents free of charge. Most will charge significantly more than the Post Office, usually around £15 per document. Other people such as bank officials, vicars and dentists can certify copies and documents in legal terms, but their certification might not be sufficient for DBS purposes. If you can’t present your documents in person, first clarify with your contact which documents they wish to see before asking about certified copies. If originals are required, you may have no option but to use the post – but always pay extra for recorded delivery.