This article was originally written in 2010, and things have changed a bit since then. This article now refers to the current (2018) procedure.
My ADI badge is due for renewal in October 2018. I got my initial alert that my DBS check (formerly the CRB check) needed to be renewed in early April – 6 months before my badge needs to be renewed. This alert came from DVSA via email.
I applied immediately online. DVSA supplies you with a PIN number and a secret word. You apply via an online form.
Once you have completed your DBS application, you take a printout of the completed form along with the necessary documents to a Post Office branch that does identity/document checks (you can find a local branch at GOV.UK). Note that your local Post Office probably can’t do it – it will be one situated in the middle of a large city with no easy parking, and with queues of people doing what people who use Post Office branches usually do (i.e. be prepared for a long wait).
Be careful with your initial application. As I discovered, being paperless – and so having to get a bank statement printed out specially by my bank – you have to specify the precise date on that statement. You cannot use a date that is either in the past or current when you fill out the DBS form, so if you have a statement printed out today, you cannot apply until tomorrow. The online system won’t let you use today’s date, and if you put another date – yesterday, as I did initially, when I realised I couldn’t be proactive and put tomorrow’s date in anticipation of going to my bank – the Post Office will reject your identity check immediately.
Let me just simplify that: get a bank statement first (if you’re using one), and complete the DBS form at least one day after the date on that statement. You can’t complete the DBS form otherwise, and if the date on the form doesn’t match the one on the statement the Post Office won’t complete the document check. Believe me: it was easier the last time I did it.
And your driving licence. If you are using that as a check document (you probably will be), the date you have to enter on the form is the date you passed your test. NOT the “valid from” date on the front of your licence (i.e. when you last did your photo update). It’s f—ing stupid, but that’s how it is, and it isn’t explained anywhere obvious that I could find (nor was it an issue last time I had a CRB/DBS check). The woman at the Post Office explained this, and told me it catches a lot of other people out , too. You have to infer the date from the back of your licence from the entitlements shown there.
I used my passport, my driving licence, and a bank statement as my check documents. Actually, I had to apply for a new passport (it was due anyway) because my birth certificate isn’t the one issued at birth, and a copy issued several years later isn’t a valid check document.
My DBS certificate came through about seven days after the document check was completed (the check at the Post Office triggers your application process). It costs £6.00 for the document check.
I’ll update this article in October with the latest process when I have to renew my badge. You can’t do it until the month your badge expires. Quite how that works if someone’s expires on 1st of the month is anyone’s guess.