COVID-19: DBS Update

23 March 2020 – NCF

In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was working with the Home Office to put new temporary measures in place to:

• ensure all DBS check fees are waived for anyone providing emergency cover during the period of the pandemic
• to set up a new temporary, fast-track (24 hour) check against the adults’ and children’s barred lists.

The new arrangements will be made available as soon as the Coronavirus Bill 2020 comes into force at the end of March.

The new service will allow employers to place individuals, providing emergency cover, into regulated activity with adults and/or children in advance of receiving the full disclosure, provided appropriate measures are put in place to manage the individual until the full DBS check is received.

Standard and enhanced without barred list checks will have to be processed in the normal way but under the new arrangements, employers may permit individuals to start work or volunteer prior to the full disclosure certificate being received, where they have assessed any risks that might be associated with the role and have considered suitable monitoring and/or supervision arrangements.

The DBS will send out full guidance on the new service directly to all employers and registered bodies in due course.

Where employers wish to carry out checks prior to the Bill coming into force under existing arrangements, including the Adults First check, the usual DBS fees and time frames will apply.

Employers are reminded that under the existing and new arrangements, they may accept recent previously issued DBS checks. Any decision to use previously issued checks should be made at a local level as part of a wider risk assessment. Employers should also establish whether potential staff are subscribed to the DBS Update Service which may allow recruitment to take place more quickly.

Current staff taking on additional or different duties
Where pre-existing members of staff are asked to take on additional or different duties, employers will need to assess whether or not a new DBS check may be needed based on the roles and responsibilities, and level of contact with patients. NHS Employers’ DBS eligibility tool and scenario-based examples helps employers determine whether a check is required and at what level.

Employers will need to ensure that staff are only permitted to carry out duties that are appropriate to their level of knowledge, skills and experience, and that suitable arrangements are in place, such as supervision and training, to ensure they can provide safe and high-quality care.

Chief executives of statutory regulators of health and care professionals published a joint statement on 03.03.2020, in which they ‘encourage health and care professionals, working in partnership with each other and people using services, to use their professional judgement to assess risk to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in their professional standards.’

New temporary measures have now been implemented as of 24.03.2020.  To view those measures, please click here.

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