How does the DBS Update Service work?

What is the Update Service?

The Update Service scheme is a subscription service set up by the Disclosure & Barring Service to keep DBS certificates up to date. Applicants can subscribe to the scheme either whilst their DBS application is in processing or within 30 days of the DBS certificate being issued.

Once subscribed to the scheme the applicant can use their DBS certificate again and again with other organisations, as their criminal record information is kept up to date by the DBS. 

To use their DBS certificate with another organisation the applicant must present their certificate to be witnessed and give their permission for the organisation to run an online service check. The online service check is run on the DBS website ( and will instantly advise the organisation whether the applicant’s criminal record has changed since the issue of their certificate.


How members can apply to the Update Service?

Volunteers can personally subscribe themselves to the Update service free of charge when they’re application is in process. They go to


Our members can take advantage of the ‘Opt in’ service which we created to ensure they subscribed to the scheme and improve the rate of DBS renewal. Members can give us their permission to subscribe them to the Update Service by emailing whilst their application is in processing or by ticking the relevant boxes in the ‘my account’ section when they’re logged on to

There is more great news!! Members can also give us their permission to automatically run the online service check. This also be done by email or checking the tick boxes mentioned above. 


What to do when a new member has a DBS with another organisation?

New and existing members who have a DBS certificate processed by another organisation and wish to use it with us must be subscribed to the Update Service. We encourage Membership Secretaries to establish this first before carrying the following steps.

Once it has been established they’re part of the scheme the member will need to give us their permission to run the online check by completing the Update Service Check form (attached below). This form must be completed with the support of the local Membership Secretary who must also witness the physical certificate. Once the form is completed it must be returned to Folk Office so we can run the online check to see if there has been a change in their criminal record since the DBS certificate was issued. 

If preferred the scheme member can send Folk Office a scanned copy of their certificate instead of completing an Update Service Check form. 


What happens when a members DBS is due for renewal with Woodcraft?

When a members DBS is due for renewal (every 3 years) they’ll be notified by email. If they’ve not previously subscribed to the Update Service they’ll be instructed to complete a new DBS application via our online system at

For those who have subscribed to the scheme and we have the details of their certificate on record we’ll be able to run the online check with their permission.

We’ll automatically run the online check for current members who have previously given us their permission to do so. Those who have not given us their permission will be contacted by email to request their consent to the run the check. 


For more information about the Update Service:

Any questions about the Update Service or DBS/membership feel free to email

Flow chart on update process.pdf261.32 KB
DBS Returns Fom 2013.doc107 KB
Update Service Check Form.pdf228.49 KB