The DBS update service is an online subscription service that lets you keep your DBS certificates up to date and allows organisations to check a certificate online, with your consent. You can use your certificate again when you apply for another position, where the same type and level of check is required.
- The update service is free for volunteers
- Volunteers can apply while they are waiting for the DBS to be processed using the application form reference number, or e-reference number
- If volunteers wait until they get their DBS certificate, they have 19 days to use that certificate number to apply
Volunteers can choose ‘Automatic renewals’ which means the certificate will be automatically updated each year. They must select this when they register for the service and cannot do it later
The DBS have further information on their update service webpage and also have an online DBS Applicant Guide
Key information from the guide is below.
About the DBS update service
The update service is an online subscription service that lets you keep your DBS certificates up to date and allows employers to check a certificate online, with your consent. You can use your certificate again when you apply for a position in the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required.
Registration lasts for one year and costs £13 a year and starts from the date your DBS certificate was issued. The £13 fee is payable by debit or credit card only, you can use someone else’s card with their permission. There’s no charge if you are using a volunteer application or certificate to join the update service. By joining you could save yourself a lot of time and money.
The update service site is hosted on a secure system and is available in English and Welsh.
Benefits of joining
- It saves you time and money
- You can take your DBS certificate from role to role within the same workforce where the same type and level of check is required
- Employers can make instant online status checks of DBS certificates linked to your subscription
- It Enhances safeguarding processes
Joining the update service
Only applicants who apply for a DBS check can join the update service.
You can join with your DBS application form reference number when you apply for a DBS check or during the application process – you can find this number in the top right hand corner of the front page of the application form or you can ask the person who submits your application for it.
If you join with your application form reference, the application form must be received by the DBS within 28 days of you joining. When your DBS certificate is issued we will automatically add it to your account. Your subscription to the service will then be live.
Or you can join when you get your DBS certificate, with your certificate number.
If you wait to get your DBS certificate you must join within 19 calendar days of your DBS certificate issue date.
If you applied for a DBS check through an e-bulk registered body you can join the update service with your e-reference whilst your check is being processed or with your DBS certificate number within 19 calendar days from the date it was issued. You can ask the e-bulk provider for your e-reference number.
What information you will need to join
Date of Birth
Application form reference, e-reference number or your DBS certificate number
a payment card for the update service fee, if applicable. The payment will be taken securely from your account. If your employer reimburses the subscription fee it won’t be subject to income tax because HMRC have made this exempt.
Your personal details must match those on your application form or DBS certificate that you are using to join the update service. You will also need to read and agree to the terms and conditions of the service.
If you have joined with your DBS application form reference number your subscription will start from the date of issue printed on your DBS certificate. If for some reason your application form is withdrawn your update service fee will be refunded and your subscription cancelled. Fees are refunded within 31 days of making the transaction.
Make a note of your unique ID
When you join the update service, you need to make a note of your unique subscription ID number and keep it secure; it begins with the letter C and followed with 10 randomly selected numbers. You shouldn’t share this subscription ID number with anyone else because you will use it to access your update service account online. Anybody who has access to this number will be able to view the status of your certificates and may amend your contact details without your knowledge or permission.
If you want to join the update service from overseas, the same processes as above apply.