Nobody likes waiting. In the internet age where we can access information around the clock and get an answer to any questions in seconds, any delay can be frustrating. This is especially the case when you have the opportunity of a great new job but have to wait for the paperwork to come through. Disclosure Checks, which are also known as CRB checks or DBS checks, are essential for a whole range of occupations where the employer wants to look into the background of staff. Depending on the role, you may not be allowed to start work until you receive your DBS certificate, so wanting to speed up the process is understandable. There’s no “fast-track” option with DBS checks, where you pay a bit more and get an express service. However, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you get your certificate sooner rather than later.


Are Delays Inevitable?

Pre-pandemic, the waiting times for disclosure certificates had been decreasing across the UK. The government publishes quarterly figures detailing performance, allowing applicants to check out how their local Force is performing. In March 2020, as hospitals and care homes came under increased pressure to recruit new staff quickly, the system changed. CRB applications from people applying to work in the health sector are prioritised at all stages of the process. This obviously means that if you need a DBS check for a role in other sectors such as education or the legal profession, you might wait a bit longer. This priority service for healthcare was introduced as a temporary measure in Spring 2020, but no end date was given. On the flip side, many organisations have frozen recruitment during the pandemic, and may not be recruiting new staff, reducing the volume of new applications.


Increase Your Chances of a Quick Return

When you submit a new disclosure check, that doesn’t mean you are completely at the mercy of what happens at the Disclosure and Barring Service – or its similar partner bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you understand what happens at each stage of the process, that should put you in a better position to supply the required information, at the right time, and in the correct format.


Application Form

Any CRB application starts with the form, and this is often where errors are made. The advice is the same whatever style of form you are filling in – read it in full before you start writing or typing in boxes. It’s amazing how many people don’t do that and fail to understand which sections of the form they should complete, and which can be left blank.

There are a couple of sections on the application which you need to pay particular attention to. The first is the section about your names. You should list all names you have ever used. This could include a maiden surname, your previous name if you have changed it by deed poll, or any other names you have used whether changed officially or not. Similarly, if your birth certificate says Elizabeth but your bank account and utility bills are in the name of Beth, you should give both names. The other section which catches people out is the address section. Here, you need to list all of the places where you’ve lived for the past 5 years. The trick here is to leave no gaps, and if you’re a student or just someone who moves a lot, this could be several addresses. Don’t be tempted to cut corners and miss things off.

If there are mistakes or omissions on the address and names sections of your form, the DBS will no longer ring or email you for clarification. Instead, your application will be rejected outright, meaning you start the application process again from the beginning, and have to pay any application fee again too.


Identity Documents

The next stage of the process is proving your identity to the organisation who is requesting the DBS check. You might be able to do this online, which involves registering for a Government Gateway account. There can be delays in setting up your account or getting log-in details and passwords, so do this in plenty of time. You will also need some other documents so that the identity checking software can tie your identity to information on other databases, such as your passport, NI number or driving licence number. Gather those together before you start the process, so you don’t have to keep stopping to hunt for pieces of paper.

If you’re asked to bring documents into the office, then make sure you have everything you need before leaving home. There’s a list on the DBS website of the approved documents, and it’s worth double checking that the combination of paperwork you have is correct. Having to go home, collect more paperwork and then return on another date is just going to delay things further.