A quick guide for Wales and England-based members who are on BF workforce registers on keeping DBS checks up-to-date

Members based in Wales and England who are on BF workforce registers (Coach, Team Manager, or Welfare Officer) need to ensure their DBS check is up-to-date. Criminal record checks from all the UK home nations must be renewed every three years. It is a legal requirement that anyone deployed in these roles has an up-to-date check in place.

BF’s processes and recommendations have seen a few changes over the last couple of years, looking to make the process of renewing DBS checks simpler and less costly. At the end of this post, you will find useful links with more detailed information about DBS checks for the BF registers. Here is a brief summary of what you need to know:

What type of DBS certificate should I have?

You need an Enhanced certificate with a check against the appropriate barred list. Normally this should be the children’s list unless working with specific groups that are made up of adults at risk.

Applying for a new DBS certificate

In April 2020, BF stopped sending and processing paper applications and replaced this practice with an online system called Vibrant Nation.

In January 2020, all BF affiliated clubs were set up with a Vibrant Nation account and can process applications for their coaches and officials.

To apply for a new certificate, please contact your club administrator. If they don’t have their Vibrant Nation login details, they must contact headoffice@britishfencing.com.

There is a £6 administration fee for the application (including for volunteers).

Here is a useful video on using Vibrant Nation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bS4chEm7FY&feature=youtu.be

Here are some guidance notes on Vibrant Nation: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/f34182_30e6c5c716cc486cbfb6228fd5a18e59.pdf


You cannot use a volunteer certificate for any paid activity you deliver, or a paid role certificate for a volunteer role. If you have both a paid and a volunteer role, you will need a certificate for each.

The DBS Update Service and online checks

BF strongly recommends you register your certificate with the DBS Update Service. It allows your certificate to be automatically renewed, meaning that, in most cases, you will not need to apply for a new certificate after your last check has expired.

The service will save you time and money, and is more efficient as BF staff can perform online checks with only the following pieces of information:

  • Your certificate number (the 12-digit number starting with 00 located on the top right corner of your certificate)
  • Your date of birth
  • Your surname
  • Your consent for BF to perform this check

Your DBS check will then be updated in our records and remain valid for three years from the date of the online check.

Example: Your certificate is registered with the Update Service and was issued on 1st September 2019. If BF staff performed an online check on 1st January 2022 and confirmed the certificate is valid, your check will be valid until 1st January 2025.

Different employers can run DBS checks with the same certificate, as long as the positions require the same type and level of check.

Subscription to the service lasts one year and costs £13. To keep a certificate registered with the Update Service, you will need to pay a £13 yearly fee each subsequent year. The service is free of charge for volunteer certificates.

Please note – you must subscribe to the Update Service at the time of application or within a 30-day timeframe of the certificate date of issue.  You will need to confirm on an annual basis that you wish to remain on the Update Service

What if I have a valid certificate that is not registered with the Update Service?

Then please send us a copy/photo of all pages of your certificates. If you only send the front page, we will not be able to renew your check in our records.

In this case, the new check will be valid for three years from the certificate’s date of issue.

Example: Your certificate is not registered with the Update Service and was issued on 1st September 2019. You submitted it to BF for approval on 1st January 2022. Your check will be valid until 1st September 2022.

Contacting BF to renew your DBS check

You can do it in two ways: either by contacting us via this webform, or entering your certificate number on your Sport80 profile.

Unsuccessful online checks

When BF performs an online check with your certificate number, and the result does not confirm your certificate remains valid, this could be because of one of these reasons:

  • Your certificate is not registered with the Update Service
  • Your certificate number/surname or date of birth is incorrect
  • The certificate has been removed from the Update Service
  • New information has come to light since your certificate was issued

These are some of the possible actions if your online check has been rejected:

  • Confirm that your details are correct
  • Check that you have renewed your Update Service subscription
  • Email us a copy/photo of all the pages of your certificate.

If it is rejected you need to do the following:

Useful links:





Useful contacts

Email customerservices@dbs.gov.uk





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