The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has launched a criminal records update service that could save children’s services millions of pounds a year.
The Disclosure and Barring Service said the new approach could save councils hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
The update service involves a £13 annual subscription for employees, that allows their employers and potential employers to carry out a criminal record check online for free rather than applying for a new DBS certificate, which costs £26 for a standard check or £44 for an enhanced check.
According to DBS estimates, a local authority the size of Essex County Council could save £572,000 a year if it used this new update service for half of its 23,000 DBS checks a year.
DBS chief executive Adrienne Kelbie said: “This new online digital service will offer to local authorities, other public sector employers and their employees a far more cost-effective, instant service.
“The update service is particularly ideal for individuals who have multiple DBS checks or are required to be re-checked periodically.”
An enhanced criminal record check covers additional information such as whether an employee had been arrested for sexual offences.
This form of check is most commonly used for those working with vulnerable children and latest figures show that 2.9 million of these enhanced checks took place in 2012.
There were 265,238 standard DBS checks last year, which mainly cover convictions.
A DBS survey has found that just under half of employers would pay the annual subscription fee on behalf of their employees and two thirds said they would encourage their new staff to join the update service.
A spokesman added that information through this update service will only be made available to those given specific access by the person being checked.
In a separate move the DBS has said that its certificates will only be issued to individuals who are subject to the check.
This is in accordance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and means they can see the information revealed before presenting it to a prospective employer.