Online service for criminal records checks to go live on 17 June

Adrienne Kelbie, chief executive of the Disclosure and Barring Service, says the new service will help volunteers who are involved with a number of organisations

Adriènne Kelbie
Adriènne Kelbie

A new online service that will make it easier for charities to see if potential volunteers have up-to-date criminal records checks will go live on 17 June.

The Update Service is being run by the Disclosure & Barring Service, which was launched last year after the merger of the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority.

Volunteers can subscribe for free to the Update Service, which costs £13 a year for employees, when they apply to the DBS for new criminal records checks.

Each applicant is given a unique subscription number that they can use to access their personal online account. The volunteer can then allow organisations to access their online account for free, where they can view their most recent DBS certificates.

If a change has happened since the volunteer’s last criminal records check, it will be flagged up on their account. The details of any conviction would not be shown at this point.

Any number of certificates can be attached to an account if the account holder requires different certificates for different roles.

The DBS said the service would save charities time because they would not have to apply for new criminal records checks for volunteers who had recently been checked and were subscribed to the service.

Volunteers will no longer have to apply for a new criminal records check every time they take on a new role.

Adriènne Kelbie, chief executive of the DBS, said: "We know that many volunteers are involved in a variety of roles with a number of different organisations. Having only one certificate, even if they hold a number of volunteer positions, will be a huge benefit to them."   

The DBS has also made changes to the way it filters cautions, convictions, reprimands and warnings from criminal record certificates.

From yesterday, certain cautions and convictions will be not included on a DBS certificate. These include convictions that were committed 11 or more years ago, when the individual was over 18 at the time of conviction. Convictions that are five and half years old or older will also be filtered from DBS certificates if they were committed when the person was under 18 years of age.

As a result of the changes, the DBS has amended question e55 on the DBS application form for a criminal record check. The DBS said applicants should treat e55 as if they were being asked "do you have any unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings?"

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