There is a whole range of jobs and volunteer opportunities in the UK which require DBS checking – a system of checking through police records to weed out people with a serious criminal past, or those who have a history of abuse or crimes against children or vulnerable adults. These checks apply to everyone, including people who have recently arrived in the UK from overseas. One of the main points of confusion is who should pay for the DBS checking, and with prices ranging from £26 for a basic check to £44 for a more detailed certificate, does this mean that people who regularly move from job to job will be significantly out of pocket?



One of the clearest situations is for people who are volunteering for an organisation which works with vulnerable people, or in a specific type of role. For a voluntary role, there is no charge at all for processing DBS checks, so neither the charity or voluntary organisation nor the volunteer must put their hand in their pocket. A DBS check carried out for a voluntary position is exactly the same check carried out as for paid positions, and the information is presented on a certificate in the same way.


Employer Paying?

Most organisations accept that paying for DBS checks on their new staff members is an unavoidable part of the recruitment process, and many will meet the cost of having checks done. The most common way of getting new staff checked is to make in clear on any job advertisement that DBS checking will be required, then after the interviews are done and a decision has been made about which person to recruit, then the DBS checks are carried out. This minimises cost for the employer, but can mean a delay in starting work for the employee, as depending on the role they might not be able to start work until their certificate comes through.


Being Asked to Pay for Your Own DBS

There is no law which states that employers should be the ones who cover the cost of having a DBS check done, it’s just good practice for the employer to shoulder the cost. Not all employers take this approach though, and some may ask employees to stump up the cash themselves. For people who move jobs regularly of have more than one employer might then find themselves quite out of pocket, so if applying for a job which requires DBS checks it is worth enquiring about the process at the interview stage.


DBS Update

One good way of getting around the issue if having to pay out for repeated DBS checks over the course of the year is to enrol with the DBS Update service.  When you apply for your first DBS check you have the option of paying an additional £13 per year to register for the scheme. This gives you access to the DBS website, and allows you to log on and see your certificates, or allow employers to log in and see them too. This means that any new employer can see your DBS status almost immediately, and you can start work more quickly.