Why is My DBS Check Taking so Long (Stage 4)?

DBS checks, formerly known as CRB checks, are a necessary part of many job applications these days. Many people are expected to apply for a DBS check if they are applying for work in education or healthcare, as their role will involve providing care, supervision, support and other regulated activities for children and vulnerable adults.

DBS checks, whether BasicStandard or Enhanced, are usually completed very promptly. But this doesn’t happen 100% of the time. There are cases when a DBS application takes longer than expected.

How Long does a DBS Check Take?

Currently, the DBS check turnaround time is 5-10 days. This is based on the average time to complete the DBS check application, which can vary depending on numerous factors such as local police searches, multiple applicant addresses, name changes or other external factors.

Here at Online DBS Checks, we aim to issue every single DBS certificate much sooner than this. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, identity documents for a DBS check have to be verified remotely, which itself can be challenging to complete promptly. The recommended procedures by the Disclosure and Barring Service is to carry out a video meeting to verify identity documents, having submitted scanned copies ahead of applying for the DBS.

It’s not ideal for employers who need to complete DBS checks for their prospective employees if they have to wait longer than expected. A BasicStandard or Enhanced DBS application is not guaranteed to be verified and confirmed straight away. They can take longer. However, if you’re applying online, the application is still significantly quicker than applying via post.

The DBS check process comprises five key stages.

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DBS Check Stages

  • Stage 1:
    The DBS application is received and validated.
  • Stage 2:
    The Police National Computer (PNC) is searched.
  • Stage 3:
    The application is checked against the Children or Adults’ Barred List (which is only conducted alongside some Enhanced DBS checks).
  • Stage 4:
    The DBS request arrives with an applicant’s local police force, who then verifies it against their criminal record.
  • Stage 5:
    The DBS certificate is returned to the employer and printed.

Stage 4 of a DBS Check

Most DBS delays take place at Stage 4 of this process.

When your DBS check is sent to your local police authority, the police then cross-reference your application with your criminal record. This is done to see if there is any relevant information that requires disclosure on the certificate, which hasn’t already been.

Some police forces are constantly battling through a backlog of applications, perhaps due to limited staffing or internal limitations. If this is the case, sometimes a DBS application can’t be seen for several days, sometimes even weeks.

If your DBS check has been stuck at Stage 4 for over 60 days, you can contact the team here at Online DBS Checks, and we can raise it with the DBS directly. Before 60 days you can contact your local police station directly.

How to Speed Up the DBS Process?

When a DBS check has been stuck in Stage 4 for a considerable period of time, and once the DBS has been notified, they can raise a query with the police force in question.

While Stage 4 DBS delays are out of the hands of both the employer and applicant, ensuring that every required field in the DBS application is correct helps prevent delays. Disclose all relevant information, including any changes of names or addresses. Failing to disclose this information could result in further delays as this information will have to be verified externally, and will often mean that the applicant will be contacted to confirm.

You can read more about fast-tracking DBS applications here.

Delays to applications are not ideal, but in the majority of cases, there is very little we can do about them. However, here at Online DBS Checks, we have a very easy-to-use system for DBS checks for applicants and employers.

For applicants, please click here to find out more about how to apply for a DBS online.

For employers, click here to read about our bulk DBS check service.

If you have any other queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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