If you’ve recently applied for a DBS check for work, then you might be surprised to find that it doesn’t have an expiry date on it. It’s unusual for government documentation, which is generally valid for a set period of time before expiring. There are however some very good reasons for why a DBS check doesn’t expire, and what you can to do manage the process.


Why don’t DBS checks expire?

Think about the process for preparing a DBS certificate. The police search the records then the information held on their database is printed on a certificate, if relevant. In theory, the applicant could go out the very next day and commit a series of crimes. There is no way of adding those offences to the certificate – it’s already in the post. The DBS have therefore left it open to the individual employer to decide how often they want to renew checks on people working for them. Most renew checks every two to five years, but there is no law stipulating the time period.


Renewing a DBS

There is no difference in the process for renewing a DBS check. The same steps of filling in the application form, proving your identity to the employer then sending your form away for checking applies. There’s also no difference in cost between a renewal and a first DBS certificate. From an employee’s point of view, it’s not your job to remember when the renewal period rolls around. Employers usually have processes in place to trigger renewals when required. There’s no fast track way of renewing your DBS check either, as it will be considered alongside all of the other new applications. However, if you’ve already gone through the application process, you should be able to avoid the common mistakes which people make when completing their forms.


DBS Update

The only way to get around this issue of renewing your DBS check is to be a member of the DBS Update service. But it’s not the answer in all cases. Being a member of DBS update means having to pay an annual subscription. If you’re only renewing a DBS every three years or more, being in the Update scheme isn’t cost effective.

If you are the sort of person whoever who chops and changes jobs a lot in similar industry sectors then DBS Update could be hugely beneficial. The idea behind the system is to provide a live database. Anyone who has registered and who has had a DBS check done can ask to be added to Update. This means that once in the system, any new information will be added automatically. So as long as you remain a member, your record is always current and up to date. All you need to do when starting a new job is to allow your manager to log in and verify your status. You can choose who your share the log in details with, and will be notified when someone looks at your data.