Ann McGauran 03 April 2020

CQC issues COVID-19 guidance on DBS checks

The Care Quality Commission(CQC)  has issued interim guidance on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and other recruitment checks in response to coronavirus.

Providers of health and social care services are offered a fast, free Barred List DBS check for emergency roles they are recruiting to, in response to a provider risk assessment. Enhanced DBS check information will still be processed, but will be issued afterwards.

The CQC guidance applies to paid staff and volunteers where providers need to start staff urgently, when waiting for a full DBS check could cause undue delay and where the delay could lead to risks to the continuity of service or impact the health and wellbeing of service users.

According the guidance, providers should ‘exercise diligence around all aspects of safe recruitment, including other recruitment checks they might carry out’.

The guidance has said providers are responsible for risk assessing their situation and making decisions based on the needs of their service and people using that service during the pandemic.

The CQC ‘will not take a punitive approach’ if providers ‘take reasonable steps to ensure new staff are recruited in line with DBS guidance, staff are adequately supported and sufficiently supervised so that people are safe’.

Providers should ‘record the decisions they have made, and any risks identified along with the mitigations they have put in place’, it added. ‘For example providers might consider accepting a relevant DBS check from a previous employer provided it is less than three years old and for a similar role.’

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