DBS claims hybrid working has delivered big boost in productivity and customer service

Chief exec of background-checking organisation also cites strong progress of transformation agenda

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The head of Disclosure and Barring Service has claimed that technology-enabled flexible-working arrangements have provided the organisation with significant boosts to productivity and customer-service levels.

According to figures cited by DBS chief executive Eric Robinson, the organisation issued 7.1 million DBS certificates in 2021-22. This represents a rise of almost 20% from the 5.96 million figure of 2019-20 – the year which concluded days after the first Covid lockdown measures were implemented. 

During the same time period, active subscribers to its Update Service, meanwhile, climbed from 1.77 million to two million, and 81.8% of enhanced DBS certificates were issued within 14 days – rising from 78.3% and comfortably surpassing the government’s target of 80%. With a customer satisfaction index score of 81.4% in 2021, DBS was the highest-rated public sector organisation for customer satisfaction, according Robinson.

But the chief exec admits admits that, at the start of the pandemic, his workforce proved to be “way more flexible” than him.


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“I’m one of these people who has worked for so long by coming into the office that it was harder for me personally to move to a more remote way of working,” he said, in an interview with PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World. “Staff had always wanted to work in a hybrid way. And the fact that that had a significant positive effect on our performance was a big learning point for us as an organisation.”

Six months into the coronavirus crisis, DBS also published a five-year strategy – including a technology roadmap, which set out plans to modernise services, deliver tech transformation and improve the organisation’s IT services. The strategy’s goals include the creation of a new website and digital portals; developing relationships with new IT suppliers; and improving infrastructure and remote access to checking systems.

Robinson said that DBS has hit “every milestone” in the roadmap so far, putting it on track to meet its goals by the 2025 deadline – despite the challenge of having to “continue to fly the plane whilst we’re building a new plane”.

“Because we have, historically, some quite old technology, the maintenance of that is quite a significant aspect for us keeping our service running and keeping things safe – and at the same time, we’re creating the new infrastructure that will enable us to leave the old ones and move to something else,” he added.


The full interview with the DBS leader – including lots more insight into its strategy and the impact on its work of public-sector strikes can be read here.

PublicTechnology staff

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