DBS Check – Is it Transferable?

There is often a lot of confusion about whether a DBS check can be transferred from one place of work to another. It’s not uncommon to find the question “are DBS checks portable?” met with contradicting and conflicting information on whether you need to apply for a DBS check more than once.

Did You Know?

You have 30 days to register for the DBS Update Service once you have received a DBS certificate. By having access to this service portal, only then can your checks become portable. How and why is this the case? More details are further down this page.

Here, we will clear up any confusion as best we can, for those who either need a DBS check for individuals (either BasicStandard or Enhanced), or whether you are an employer seeking multiple DBS checks.

Are DBS Checks Transferable Between Employers?

When it comes to whether DBS checks can be reused, it’s vital to remember two key points. The following must match the applicant’s new job position if you need a DBS check transferred to a new role:

  1. The position type
  2. The information on the certificate

For DBS checks to be transferred, the new position should match the applicant’s current job role, as well as the field of work and whether any Barred List checks have been requested. The reason for this is because whenan applicant changes job roles, moving to a different employer, their DBS certificate may not disclose the required amount of criminal record information that their new employer is legally eligible to view. In some instances, DBS certificates might disclose more information than what the new employer may be allowed to view. Conversely, a new employer may require more information than that disclosed in an applicant’s current check. To clear up any confusion, the following criteria must match both existing and new roles before anything is considered:

  • The role itself
  • The workforce type
  • Barred List check information

Can Employers Refuse a DBS Certificate?

Whether or not an employer accepts an existing DBS certificate is entirely at their discretion. There are, however, a couple of reasons for this, which may include:

The business may have policies stating that all current employees have a DBS Check in the company’s name, not a previous employer’s name, therefore, a new DBS check is required.

Another reason may be a possibility that industry regulators specify that all new starters within a company require a DBS Check to be carried out, regardless of any previous jobs.

The Company’s Discretion

The decision to reuse a DBS check lies with a particular organisation or company. They hold jurisdiction over whether to accept a previously-issued DBS application or whether they will request an applicant to apply for a new DBS check. The decision over whether a company will accept a BasicStandard or Enhanced DBS check that’s already been issued will depend on the following:

  • Company policy – it’s possible that the new employer may have policies in place that require every new employee to apply for a DBS check online, before employment. It can also be a deciding factor in the employment of a candidate.
  • Regulatory body policy – there might be regulatory requirements that the new employer must adhere to, which state that new DBS checks are needed when hiring new employees.
  • Elapsed time since the certificate was issued – typically speaking, organisations have all of their DBS checks renewed every 1-3 years. It’s important to note that there are no official DBS check expiry dates, but employers might benefit from considering the time passed since that previous check was issued.

DBS Update Service – many people aren’t aware of this, but you have 30 days to register with the DBS for their Update Service once you’ve been issued with a certificate. Only when you’ve registered successfully does a DBS check become portable. We’ve outlined more on this below.

Storage of DBS Certificate Information

The code of practice which accompanies the storage and retention of DBS information acknowledges that the information is only revealed for its intended purpose and for no other reason. It should also be disposed of safely and securely after a reasonable amount of time has passed.

It is crucial that organisations with access to this kind of sensitive information adhere to the rules and that the Disclosure and Barring Service is satisfied with their compliance with the code of practice.

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