DBS Checks and COVID-19: A Summary

DBS Checks during COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought about unprecedented and life-altering change for everybody. Last week the Health Secretary called for 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the government has successfully recruited approximately 35,000 more NHS staff to help fight the virus, the Disclosure and Barring Service have announced some further measures to assist those called on to help.

For any new NHS volunteers and employees, they must be 18 or over, and for certain positions, Standard DBS checks and Enhanced DBS checks are required.

Many NHS Trusts need valuable services from those who can work in hospitals as nurses, care workers, and various other support roles. In terms of DBS checks for volunteers during COVID-19, these checks are still a legal requirement to determine a volunteer’s eligibility for working with children or vulnerable adults.

Free DBS Checks and Fast Track Barred List Checks

The new temporary measures in place apply to healthcare workers and social care workers who need to apply for DBS checks online to provide care and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19) in England and Wales.

The DBS will provide DBS checks and fast-track emergency checks of both the Adults’ and Children’s Barred Lists FREE OF CHARGE.

The DBS will check all relevant applications, with the results sent via email by the end of the next working day.

The following roles will receive free DBS checks, and a fast track Barred List check, which is an incentive launched by the government as of 30th March 2020. No fee is payable, and a Barred List check will be provided concerning a DBS application is made for any of the below:

  • Nurses, midwives or nursing associates
  • Social workers
  • Medical practitioners
  • Pharmacists, or pharmacy technicians

This fast track DBS check and Barred List check service does not yet apply to ‘emergency volunteers’. Services for this group will be announced in due course. Read the full list here.

When to Apply for Free DBS Checks

This service must only be used when employers are recruiting staff that fall within the above service eligible roles. Any other applications for Enhanced DBS checks must be processed in the usual way, to ensure a delay-free emergency DBS check procedure.

Click here to apply for an Enhanced DBS check.

Free DBS Checks for Employers

For employers processing multiple DBS checks, it’s worth reminding yourself that you may accept previously-issued DBS checks. Any decisions to do so should be made as part of a more comprehensive risk assessment. You should also consider whether your staff are registered for the DBS Update Service, as this may speed up DBS check applications.

Applicants should NOT subscribe to the DBS Update Service using checks submitted via the COVID-19 free-of-charge service. These checks should not be added to any existing Update Service subscriptions.

Please be advised Adult First checks should not be submitted if you are applying for DBS checks as a COVID-19 emergency worker.

No Admin Fees for Some Volunteers

Another important update concerns other key workers who may be needed to volunteer their services in the wake of COVID-19.

Online DBS Checks are going to be waiving all administration fees.

If you are looking to register as a volunteer key worker, you can still apply for a DBS check in the usual way, and we will process your Standard or Enhanced DBS check as we would normally. We will just not charge any admin fees.

The same applies to organisations who have registered with us for our e-bulk DBS check service.

Apply for Volunteer Enhanced DBS Check

Please refer to this page for updates to the ID checking guidelines announced by the DBS.

If you have any questions at all regarding DBS applications in the wake of COVID-19, please do not hesitate to give the team here a call. We are more than happy to help you.

The same applies to organisations who have registered with us for our e-bulk DBS check service.

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