How Digital DBS checks can improve the recruitment process

How Digital DBS checks can improve the recruitment process

DBS checks form a vital part of the screening process, particularly for positions that involve interaction with vulnerable people including children. At a time when getting people into work and speeding up economic growth is more important than ever, however, the manual, paper-based checking process is a significant sticking point for recruiters, slowing down the screening process and leading to increased recruitment costs and employers managing longer periods with empty desks.

Verifying an applicant's identification is a key part of the checking process, and with the introduction of Digital ID verification for Right to Work checks, DBS is also taking advantage of this system.

The use of Digital ID verification for DBS checks offers several benefits to recruiters, candidates, and the wider labour market.

What is Digital ID verification?

Digital ID verification is a fast and accurate way for candidates to prove who they are, negating the need for recruiters to handle physical documents. Using custom-built technology provided by ID Service Providers (IDSPs), identity can be verified with improved accuracy and speed.

Candidates upload an image of their ID documents to the ID Verification Technology (IDVT) – usually an app or online portal - as well as a live video image of themselves, and using Artificial Intelligence and data-powered technology, the IDVT can confirm the identity of the employee to certain degrees of confidence.

In the past year, DBS has published a digital scheme allowing checks to be made digitally for the first time, and allowing IDSPs to be formally accredited to ensure DBS checks are done to the highest standards.

With DBS’s new ID verification process, employers or Registered Bodies (RBs) engage a DBS-certified IDSP to verify an applicant’s identity including their current address. If the IDSP cannot verify the applicant’s current address, they report back to the employer or RB, and applicants are given 90 days to provide paper verification. Once the ID and address have been verified, the RB can apply for DBS.

Improving the recruitment process


As the UK goes through a cost-of-living crisis and economically unstable times, the need for faster, frictionless recruitment is more important than ever. With staff shortages in important, foundational institutions like the NHS, the need for speeding up the recruitment process is vital for essential services, as well as economic growth.

For candidates, the fast and simplified method for proving ID enhances the recruitment process, reducing pain points and getting them into work more quickly. Employers benefit from reduced time-to-hire and diminished costs associated with an empty desk.


ID documents are expensive and take time to replace, so, understandably, candidates would want to avoid any situations in which there was a chance of losing or damaging them.

With Digital ID, candidates don’t need to take their documentation out of their homes, as verification can be done remotely with the use of an app.

Additionally, personal data, such as that contained in passports and ID documents, is valuable to criminals and fraudsters, and theft of documentation or information stored in HR files puts candidates at risk of identity fraud.

Using a certified IDSP means that personal data is kept safe, as certification of an IDSP is reliant on the provider having appropriate security management systems in place that meet industry standards. Candidates can be assured, therefore, that their personal information is secure.


Faster verification means a faster process overall, leading to reduced recruitment costs. These include the costs of hiring temporary cover for vacant positions, productivity downturns due to increased workload, and HR time managing a long-drawn-out process.

Widened talent pool

Recent figures show that there are over 12 million people with convictions in England and Wales (1 in 6 across the UK).  Almost 4.5 million Standard & Enhanced checks were issued by DBS in the year 2021/22.

Employers are split between those who would recruit a worker with a previous conviction (45%, up 20% from 2010 figures) and those who would instantly reject a job-seeker if they disclosed a previous conviction, even though this was not always the organisation’s policy (30%).

For many, the risk of re-offending is a major factor, with a REC survey showing that 60% of employers feel anxiety around this.

Recruitment must be fair for candidates with previous convictions, and with faster, more efficient DBS checking employers can spend more time considering their suitability and eligibility for the role with information on their background available, instead of instantly ruling them out.

How can Reed Screening help?

At Reed Screening, we have years of experience in providing fast, smooth, and thorough employee screening and background checks, to bolster your candidate experience. Our DBS screening service is an online solution, with market-leading turnaround times.

For more information, get in touch with our team.