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The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is responsible for processing requests for criminal records checks (DBS checks).  It is also responsible for deciding whether it is appropriate for a person to be placed on or removed from “barred lists” of people who are unsuitable to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.

The DBS has a target to issue 95% of DBS certificates within eight weeks. However, it is not currently meeting this target, although it is close: for 2016/17 to date it was at 93.8%.

The main cause of delay in most cases lies at stage 4 of the process outlined above, which involves the DBS sending applications for enhanced checks to the police.  The DBS is reliant on a timely response from the police in order to print and issue the DBS certificate within its target timeframe.  The DBS therefore has performance service standards in place with each police force:

  1. 85% of checks must be completed in 14 days
  2. 90% of checks must be completed in 18 days*
  3. 95% of checks must be completed in 25 days
  4. 100% of checks must be completed in 60 days

*Failure to achieve this target may affect our ability to meet our public service standard target for enhanced DBS checks.

However, several forces are failing to meet these standards.  The latest available performance statistics are available on the DBS website: see DBS checks: police performance summary

[1]  DBS website, Service standards for DBS checks, referrals and barring   [accessed 21 October 2016]

[2]  DBS, Balanced Scorecard 2016/2017, August 2016

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