Understanding DBS checks

If you’re thinking about enrolling onto any kind of online childcare course, then one thing you will need to take into consideration is getting a DBS certificate – especially if you want to become a childminder or teacher.
Without this certificate you will not be allowed to work, teach or care for children or vulnerable people.
But what is it? Why is it so important?

What is a DBS check?

Otherwise known as Disclosure and Barring Service, this check is designed to see if an individual has got any criminal convictions and cautions. Now in a school setting, you will be asked to undertake an enhanced DBS check. Here, any reports that have been made against you to the police will be recorded. At the same time the police will be allowed to make comments to your employer (if necessary).

NOTE: for those of you already in the childcare industry, you might have spotted some similarities between DBS and CRB checks. And you would be right to say this as the DBS replaced CRB checks following changes to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

How to get a DBS check:

The first thing you need to know is that you cannot ask for a DBS yourself. You will need to go through the company, school, charity, etc. who are offering you employment. They will then ask you for specific information to help confirm who you are and where you live.

From here, you will be sent an online form, which the employer will then endorse saying that they have reviewed all of your relevant identifying documents. Once sent, checks will be carried out and you’ll receive a certificate through the post.

When will you need to get a DBS check?

These checks are not something any old employer can demand. They are only applicable if you want to work in a position involving vulnerable people i.e. as a teacher in schools; a childminder (at home or in a nursery), a social worker, a medical professional (in a hospital and GP practice) or as a foster carer (home or children’s home).
Likewise, certain professions will require a DBS upon entry into the career. Common ones include solicitors and accountants, as there may be occasions where you need to work with children or vulnerable people. These checks will also act as proof of your honesty and integrity which is useful when applying for new jobs.

Things you need to know:

  1. Companies can only request DBS checks once you are 16 years old.
  2. DBS checks have got a limited shelf life as you’ll need to get a new one with each new employer. Likewise, some employers will ask you to update it annually, despite them technically never expiring.
  3. The DBS process can take approximately 8 weeks to complete. However, it could be quicker depending on the complexity of the details the company requires.
  4. The cost of DBS checks can range from £26 to £44 (depending on how detailed the check needs to be). A lot of companies will cover the cost; however, they may ask you to pay for it.
  5. DBS checks have 3 levels: standard, enhanced and enhanced with list checks. The basic one will list your spent and unspent convictions, reprimands, cautions and final warnings. Enhanced checks go a step further as they also provide any relevant info held on you by the police. The last level checks DBS barred lists, where you may have been stopped from working with children, animals and other vulnerable groups.
  6. Employers can only request the check that is most relevant to the role you’re applying for.

What happens when something is wrong?

Should your DBS check come back and the certificate contain incorrect details i.e. wrong personal details or mistakes in criminal records; then it is within your right to report these mistakes (as long as you do this within 3 months of the check request). Your employer can sort this out and can request that they are rectified. From here, local authorities can perform essential checks to ensure this mistake is corrected.

Now these are just the basic fundamentals of DBS checks. For more information you can also check out the government website.  Alternatively, to increase your employability odds, take a look at our online courses.

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