"I've called several times out of normal office hours and at weekends, and they've never let me down."
Cynthia, local mental health unit team leader




« Back to previous page

Plan to raise awareness of DBS scheme is positive news but more needs to be done


The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) took over the process of issuing criminal record certificates from the now defunct Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) in 2012. As part of number of changes, the DBS launched its new Update Service last year creating significant changes for recruiters in key sectors such as education, and health and social care. The aims of the new scheme were broadly welcomed by REC members but we have consistently flagged the lack of awareness amongst employers and candidates as a major concern. The recent announcement by DBS confirmed that these concerns have been taken on board and that measures are being put in place to boost awareness of the new subscription service.

The Update Service, which began on 17 June 2014, will potentially mean that those working with children and vulnerable workers will only ever have to apply for one criminal record certificate meaning huge cost savings. The certificates of applicants who have subscribed to the service are regularly updated by the DBS and employers can check for new information for free and online rather than the applicant having to pay for a new certificate. The new system is therefore more robust and cost efficient.

However the potential advantages have been hampered from the outset by a lack of awareness of the new service amongst applicants, particularly because of the short time frame they have to take up subscription from the date they apply for their certificates. 

Following a number of REC submissions on this issue, DBS confirmed that they will be amending the Disclosure certificate application form that applicants have to complete to include information about the benefits of subscribing to the Update Service. This is a welcome development that comes after several months lobbying.

There is also an urgent need to raise awareness of the scheme amongst employers as well as candidates – as illustrated during last week’s REC Education meeting.  Out of just under 100 recruiters in the room, around 50% said that they thought schools had limited awareness, with the remaining 50% saying that schools had virtually no awareness. No REC members thought that schools were fully aware and up to speed with the new vetting requirements.

The fact that DBS have accepted the need to do more to promote the Update Service to applicants is an important step forward. We need to build on this over the coming months to create a tipping point in the way that the DBS scheme is recognised and understood. Specialist recruiters in sectors such as education, and health and social care, are passionate about promoting a safe recruitment agenda and we will ensure that the industry’s voice remains at the forefront of the safeguarding agenda.

Source: REC, https://www.rec.uk.com/news-and-policy/corporate-blog/plan-to-raise-awareness-of-dbs-scheme-is-positive-news-but-more-needs-to-be-done