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Goodbye to CRB checks – hello to the DBS Update Service

For those of us employing domestic staff, particularly where they interact with children or vulnerable adults, there are substantial new changes to what we have come to know as CRB checks.

The previous system has been replaced and CRB checks renamed, with a new Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) being created from a merger between the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

There are also changes to what is defined as “regulated activity”.

Employers need to know that a new update service came into being on 17 June 2013 and totally changes the way that information is held and updated.

In essence, the repeated applications for a CRB check have been ended and a new certificate created.  In future, there will only be one application for a certificate for someone, and employers will be able to verify online, almost instantly, whether or not the existing certificate is still up to date.

However, this also means that to achieve this, employers will need to be entitled to view the same level of check as for the existing certificate. and to do this, they MUST have consent of the employee or applicant.

Thereafter, an application for a new certificate will only have to be made if they learn via the system that something on the certificate has changed.  The intention is that this will reduce the number of criminal record checks people need to have, saving both the Government and employers time and money. Existing employees who already have DBS certificates will not automatically become part of this system by virtue of their current certificate.

Employers should also be aware that DBS certificates will only be sent to the individual from now on and so they should ensure that the individual passes this on.  Changes have also been made to how the “position applied for” box is filled in.

However, not all material will now be included, some being filtered out following a recent Court of Appeal ruling.  The DBS has published a full list of the offences that will not be filtered out.

It is now therefore vital for employers to review their employment contracts and policies for them to oblige employees to show their DBS certificate when they are requested to do so.  They must also take into account that the employee must consent in writing for update checks to be carried out on their certificate.
It stands to reason, that as part of the recruitment process, employers must now get candidates to agree to subscribe to the update service.  You can find out more about the DBS Update Service.

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