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March 30 2020

COVID-19: DBS checks now FREE OF CHARGE and Fast-Tracked

Temporary changes to enhanced checks to help emergency coronavirus recruitment

Verifile removing admin costs to support healthcare recruitment

In response to COVID-19, as of 30 March 2020, the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are removing the costs of enhanced DBS checks.

They will also be fast-tracking the adults’ and children’s barred lists checks.

All the latest news about how COVID-19 is

affecting the background screening sector

However, this only applies to healthcare and social care workers being recruited in connection with the care and treatment of COVID-19 in England and Wales.

Verifile will also be joining the national effort to make its DBS checking service free-of-admin-charge too. Employers recruiting staff and volunteers to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic will receive a free service end-to-end. 

A full list of eligible roles within NHS health services, social care services or social services functions that will benefit from these changes can be found here.

Please note: Roles eligible for the free and fast-track emergency checks are different to those defined as ‘key workers’ for the purposes of childcare etc.

These temporary arrangements will provide employers with the option to appoint new recruits into regulated activity with adults and/or children, so long as the individuals are not barred.

Appropriate measures must also be put in place to manage the individual until the full DBS check is received.

Only apply for a free fast-tracked DBS check under this change if you really need to

The DBS have also asked people to be mindful of only using these services if the roles fall into the eligible categories.

In communicating the free and fast tracked checks, they said: “Misuse of this emergency fast track and free COVID-19 provision, will delay the urgent deployment of health and social care personnel and therefore undermine the national effort to fight Coronavirus.”

Before accessing this benefit, please read these key facts and prompts to help you make an informed decision before applying for a DBS check under these changes:
  • 95% of all Enhanced with Barred List DBS checks return no information
  • Only 0.02% of Enhanced with Barred List DBS checks state the person is on a barred list
  • If the person you are looking to employ as part of these emergency measures has had an Enhanced with Barred List DBS check in the last three years, as long as it is for the same workforce (i.e. children and/or adults), consider whether you can use the recent check to determine suitability for the role applied for.
  • If the person you are looking to employ as part of these emergency measures has an existing subscription to the Update Service using a DBS Enhanced with Barred List check, assess the suitability of the applicant using the original certificate and a check of the Update Service.
Please note: as a temporary measure where you are recruiting into paid employment you may consider accepting checks previously issued for volunteer roles.

To help you access these checks, please speak to your account manager or contact our Client Services Team by calling: +44 (0) 1234 339 350 or emailing

These changes are further commitment to DBS Turnaround Times, which are being treated as a priority with the government. 

PM Boris Johnson said: "We are speeding up the DBS checks so they can be done in 24 hours and I want to thank and congratulate all the boroughs throughout this country for the way they are harnessing those volunteers.”