Capita
Ofsted

Ofsted DBS Application Portal

Frequently Asked Questions

The frequently asked questions and answers below should provide you with all the guidance you need regarding the DBS.

1. Background

  1. Who is the DBS?
  2. What is a DBS check?
  3. What is an Enhanced DBS check?
  4. What type of check do I need to apply for?
  5. What is the Children's Barred list?
  6. Why are criminal record checks necessary?

2. Costs

  1. Why do I now need to pay a fee?
  2. How much will it cost?
  3. What are the DBS charges for volunteers?
  4. Who is eligible to apply as a volunteer?
  5. I am a household member and am not paid for this role. Am I considered a volunteer?
  6. I am a household member who is also working as an unpaid assistant. Am I considered a volunteer?
  7. I am a childminding assistant and am not paid for this role. Am I considered a volunteer?

3. General information

  1. Why has the application process changed?
  2. Why has my paper form not been accepted by Ofsted, I sent it in before 1 July 2013?
  3. Why do I now need to apply online?
  4. Where can I find the 'Capita Organisation Reference'?
  5. Are applicants responsible for identifying who can check their ID?
  6. What do I do once I've received my enhanced disclosure and does Ofsted need the original copy?
  7. How was the umbrella body (Capita) selected?

4. Continuous Update Service

  1. What is the Update Service?
  2. How does an individual register for the Update Service?
  3. By using the e-Bulk online system how long does an individual have to join the Update Service once they receive their certificate?
  4. Can an individual add a certificate issued before the launch of the Update Service?
  5. What is likely to cause a change to someone's status, so their DBS Certificate is no longer current?
  6. Are there any limitations to individuals registering with the Update Service?

1.1. Who is the DBS?

DBS stands for the Disclosure and Barring Service. The DBS was created on 1 December 2012 as a merger between what was the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

1.2. What is a DBS check?

A standard DBS check involves a check of an applicant's criminal record against the Police National Computer (PNC) for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. A DBS check is what used to be called a CRB check.

1.3. What is an Enhanced DBS check?

An enhanced DBS check includes all the information disclosed as part of a standard check, plus any information held locally by police forces that’s considered relevant to the child workforce and post applied for. This information is disclosed at the discretion of a Chief Police Officer.

1.4. What type of check do I need to apply for?

All Ofsted DBS checks are enhanced and include a check of the children's barred list. Certain home-based roles include an additional check with the local police force.

The type of check is determined automatically based on the role you tell us you are applying for, so it is important to get this right. Further description of these roles is available within our role related guidance found here.

1.5. What is the Children's Barred list?

The children's barred list contains a list of people automatically barred from working with children in regulated activity. This is because they have been sacked or removed from working in regulated activity because they have, or might have, harmed a child.

1.6. Why are criminal record checks necessary?

Ofsted are legally required to carry out DBS checks for particular individuals working with children with in regulated childcare and social care provision.

2.1. Why do I now need to pay a fee?

From 1 July 2013, the Government subsidy for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Criminal Records checks ceased. This means that most individuals connected to an application for registration will be required to pay the full cost of obtaining a DBS check, including the DBS enhanced disclosure fee and an administration charge. Certain individuals who are working as a volunteer may not need to pay the DBS enhanced disclosure fee. Please note all applicants will need to pay an administration charge.

2.2. How much will it cost?

Applicants will now pay the full cost of a DBS check including an administration charge. The total cost can vary depending on how an applicant applies and how they get their ID checked. The table below outlines the various costs and options. An applicant must choose an option for each section 1, 2 and 3.
 
For example an applicant applying online and checking their ID via a responsible person will be charged £52.10 (£44 + £6.80 + £1.30)

 

Item Description

Fee

1

DBS Enhanced Disclosure fee

£44.00*

2

Online application administration fee

£6.80

or

Paper/postal application administration fee

£9.46

3

ID check completed by responsible person (click here for details)

£1.30

or

ID check completed at the post office

£7.15

*specific applicants who meet the definition of a volunteer do not pay a DBS Enhanced Disclosure fee. Please refer to further guidance within this FAQ.
 
Please note applicants who cannot provide sufficient Group 1 ID documentation will be required to go through an additional external verification check. This costs an additional £4.80. For further information regarding this please click here.

2.3. What are the DBS charges for volunteers?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) usually charge a fee for a DBS check. Currently the fee for an enhanced DBS check including a check of the children's barred list is £44.

If an applicant meets the definition of a volunteer as outlined below, their DBS application will not incur a £44 fee from the DBS. They will, however, incur the administration fee charged by Capita. An eligible volunteer entitled to a discounted DBS check includes anyone who spends time helping people and:

  • isn’t being paid (apart from travel and other approved out of pocket expenses)
  • isn’t only looking after a close relative

Please note an administration fee will be charged on all DBS applications regardless whether the applicant is a volunteer or not. For a full breakdown of the costs please click here.

2.4. Who is eligible to apply as a volunteer?

To be considered a volunteer and eligible for a free DBS check an applicant must be volunteering to undertake work and not receive payment or reward for their role. An applicant who receives, or expects to receive, any of the following as part of the role they are applying for would not be considered a volunteer and must pay the full fee for their DBS check:

  • remuneration such as a wage, salary or other monetary payment (excluding out of pocket expenses)
  • a benefit of some kind, including discounted childcare costs for their own child who attends the childcare provision
  • credit towards a qualification or working at the setting as part of a placement

Details of the DBS' stance on this are available here.

If you are applying with Ofsted for any one of the following roles, you will not be eligible to be considered as a volunteer:

  • Childminder
  • Living at childminding premises
  • Sole Proprietor
  • Registered Manager
  • Lives and works with childminder
  • Home-childcarer
  • Assistant working at childminding premises

Marking your application incorrectly as a volunteer will result in your DBS application being withdrawn. This will mean any fee already paid is forfeited and you will be asked to re-apply, this will include paying another administration fee and will result in delays to your application.

It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false statement when applying for a DBS check. Capita and Ofsted closely scrutinises each DBS application before it is processed by the DBS. If an applicant falsely applies as a volunteer as part of their DBS check the full application fee will be recovered including any further administration costs. This may delay and/or adversely affect an application with Ofsted.

For the purposes of their DBS check an applicant would not be considered a volunteer if they have more than one role within an organisation and are paid for either of those roles. For example a paid nursery worker may also volunteer to be part of the committee that has overarching legal responsibility for the setting. In such instances they are not entitled to a discounted DBS check.

2.5. I am a household member and am not paid for this role. Am I considered a volunteer?

No. As a household member at childminding or childcare on domestic premises you will not be working for the benefit of others and therefore do not meet the definition of a volunteer. Ofsted are legally required to check all individuals living on childcare premises.

2.6. I am a household member who is also working as an unpaid assistant. Am I considered a volunteer?

No. In Ofsted's view your role as a household member at childminding or childcare on domestic premises takes precedence. As this role will not involve working for the benefit of others you do not meet the definition of a volunteer. Ofsted are legally required to check all individuals living on childcare premises.

2.7. I am a childminding assistant and am not paid for this role. Am I considered a volunteer?

No. Although some assistants may not be directly paid for the work they do within a childminding setting, they will be contributing to the childminding service being offered. In turn this will mean the childminders can offer an enhanced service by caring for more children and/or offering more flexible care. As there is a monetary or reputational benefit to the childminder in these circumstances an assistant is not entitled to a discounted DBS check.

3.1. Why has the application process changed?

To facilitate the removal of the Government subsidy and to make the transition as easy as possible for those individuals requiring an Ofsted DBS check, Capita has been contracted to undertake all DBS checks on Ofsted's behalf. Capita were previously one of three suppliers contracted to the Department for Education to undertake subsidised DBS checks on staff members working within childcare settings and have lots of experience within the sector.

At the same time, and to counteract the DBS decision to no longer issue registered body copy enhanced certificates, Ofsted are moving their DBS checking process onto an online system. From 1 July 2013 Ofsted will no longer accept paper applications sent to them and instead any DBS checks must be completed via Capita using this web page. This new online capability will mean your check will be processed more quickly and will provide status updates to Ofsted.

3.2. Why has my paper form not been accepted by Ofsted, I sent it in before 1 July 2013?

Any forms that were received by 28 June 2013 were processed as a matter of priority by Ofsted. Any DBS application forms received on or after the 1 July 2013 will not be accepted as the Department for Education has withdrawn the subsidy to pay for these checks. Therefore applicants need to make their application via Capita and pay for the check themselves.

3.3. Why do I now need to apply online?

To counteract the DBS decision to no longer issue registered body copy enhanced certificates, Ofsted are moving their DBS checking process onto an online system. The online system is called e-Bulk, as well as ensuring applications are completed more accurately it will mean also mean your check will be processed more quickly and will provide status updates to Ofsted.

3.4. Where can I find the 'Capita Organisation Reference'?

If you are applying as part of an application to register a childcare provision or children's social care provision with Ofsted, or to be linked to an already registered provider, the instructions can be found in the relevant 'Guides to Registration' on Ofsted's website.

3.5. Are applicants responsible for identifying who can check their ID?

Yes. An applicant must choose someone, in line with our guidance, who can verify their ID and fill in the ID verification form.

If applicants' are struggling to find someone suitable to check their ID Capita also offer a Post Office checking service as an alternative. However, making an application in this way will incur an additional fee and is more expensive. This is because the Post Office charges their own fee for this service.

3.6. What do I do once I've received my enhanced disclosure and does Ofsted need the original copy?

Depending on the outcome of the DBS check Ofsted may contact the applicant and request an original copy of the enhanced certificate to be sent to them. Applicants must not send original certificates to Ofsted unless they have been specifically advised to do so.

3.7. How was the umbrella body (Capita) selected?

Capita were previously one of three suppliers contracted to the Department for Education to undertake subsidised DBS checks on staff members working within childcare settings and have lots of experience within the sector. They were selected following a procurement exercise, and were awarded the contract based on the value for money and quality of service they could provide Ofsted applicants.

4.1. What is the Update Service?

Individuals can choose to subscribe to the Update Service for an annual fee of £13, or free for volunteers. Their DBS certificate will be kept up-to-date so that they can take it with them from role to role within the same workforce. As a result individuals may no longer have to apply for a new DBS check every time they apply for a job or change roles.

If an individual has subscribed to the Update Service their employer will be able to go online, with the individual’s consent, and carry out a free, instant check to find out if the information released on the DBS certificate is current and up to date.

4.2. How does an individual register for the Update Service?

An individual registers for the Update Service via the link www.gov.uk/dbs. The annual cost to subscribe to the Update Service is £13, payment for this service is made via a secure online payment portal.

4.3. By using the e-Bulk online system how long does an individual have to join the Update Service once they receive their certificate?

An individual must register for the Update Service within 14 days of the issue date on their DBS Certificate.

4.4. Can an individual add a certificate issued before the launch of the Update Service?

No, only certificates issued by the DBS after the 17 June can be used.

4.5. What is likely to cause a change to someone's status, so their DBS Certificate is no longer current?

The status will change depending on the type of DBS check if:

  • any new convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings are recorded; or
  • any amendment or change to a current conviction, caution, warning or reprimand
  • if the individual becomes barred for that list(s) checked on the Enhanced Certificate

4.6. Are there any limitations to individuals registering with the Update Service?

Yes, the DBS have indicated the limitations below apply from 17 June:

  • Applications submitted through e-Bulk can only join the Update Service once their application is completed and they have received their certificate
  • Welsh-language paper applications can only join the Update Service once their application has been completed and they have received their certificate
  • Any manual certificates issued by the DBS to an individual cannot be used to join the Update Service