DBS update service


Anyone who applies for a criminal record check through the DBS can choose to subscribe to the DBS Update Service. This service enables employers (with the candidate’s permission) to carry out an instant and free online check, known as a ‘Status Check’, which reveals whether the DBS Certificate is still up to date, or whether new information may have been added to the person’s criminal record (eg new convictions). Individual disclosures must still be viewed by departments.

This service can provide portability of DBS disclosures between employers and/or jobs/activities so that candidates may not necessarily have to repeat checks when moving jobs or working for multiple employers, as long as the role they are doing is within the same ‘workforce’ (ie a previous check of suitability to work with children will not be an indication that an individual may work with ‘at risk’ adults and vice versa), and requires the same level of checking, eg an enhanced DBS check (with the appropriate barred list). If someone has a disclosure to work with children and the new job/activity is with at risk adults, or vice versa, a new disclosure will be required.

The candidate can choose to subscribe to the Update Service (at a small annual cost) either at the DBS application stage, using the application reference number (which can be provided by the OUSS Vetting Team), or once the DBS Certificate has been issued, using the 12 digit number on the right-hand side of the certificate (within 14 days of the Certificate being issued).

Departments are reminded that they must comply with the DBS Code of Practice.

How to carry out Status Checks

Departments should ask the candidate for their existing DBS Certificate, and then seek their permission to carry out the free and instant online ‘Status Check’ via the Update Service.

Using the pro-forma provided on the right-hand side, when presented with the original copy of the DBS Certificate, departments must:

  • check and verify that the name and date of birth on the Certificate match a passport or other photo ID document;
  • authenticate the DBS Certificate to ensure it is genuine. To do this, please refer to the information on the security features of a DBS Certificate on the DBS website;
  • check all other details on the Certificate: the type of disclosure made (ie children or adults workforce) must match the requirements of the current post;
  • record its issue date, the 12 digit reference number and the candidate’s name.

Following these checks, departments can go online and carry out the Status Check. If the online results show that the Certificate is up-to-date the result of the check should be printed out and stored securely (in line with with the DBS Code of Practice, the GDPR and related UK Data Protection legislation, and the University’s guidance on retention of documents), on the individual’s personnel file. If the online results show that new information has been added to the individual’s record a new DBS Disclosure will be necessary.

A DBS Certificate status will change if:

  • new convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings have been added to the record;
  • any amendment or change to a current conviction, caution, warning or reprimand has been made;
  • any new, relevant police information has been added; or
  • the individual becomes barred for the list(s).

Should the status change, departments should contact their HRBP or the OUSS Vetting Team for further advice.

Frequency of updates within the Update Service

The DBS will update the registered individual’s criminal record conviction and barring information weekly and their non-conviction information (eg an arrest that does not result in any charges being brought) every nine months.