A Guide to DBS Checks For Actors and Performance Artists
Any job that involves working with other people or a certain degree of responsibility (financial or otherwise), is liable to need a DBS check these days.
Acting and the performance arts are no exception.
But how do you know if you need a DBS check as an actor or actress? This brief guide will help to explain some of the rules around background checks for people working in the acting business and DBS checks in particular.
3 Levels of DBS Check
We’re going to look at the specifics of DBS checks for actors and performance artists in just a moment, but first let’s define what a DBS check is and what the three levels of DBS check are.
A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is a form of background check used by employers and organisations to vet people for certain roles and jobs. The DBS check involves searching through an individual’s criminal record for convictions and details of relevant offences. The DBS processes the check by searching the Police National Computer (PNC) and returning the results on a DBS certificate.
A DBS check can be applied for by anybody over the age of the 16 who is resident in the UK.
Basic DBS Check
A Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of DBS check and reveals details of any unspent convictions and conditional cautions on an individual’s criminal record. Any individual can apply for a Basic DBS Check without an employer or registered body verifying the application.
Standard DBS Check
A Standard DBS Check is a medium level criminal background check and reveals details of any unspent or spent convictions, cautions, warnings, or reprimands that are currently showing on a person’s criminal record. An employer or registered third party must verify the application before submitting a Standard DBS Check.
Enhanced DBS Check
An Enhanced DBS Check is used for highly responsible jobs that usually involve direct regular contact with children and vulnerable adults, known by the DBS as regulated activities. The Enhanced DBS Check reveals the same convictions as a Standard DBS Check, but also reveals any relevant police notes including allegations and pending investigations. For regulated activities that are safeguarding-critical, a barred list check will also be requested to make sure that the individual hasn’t been banned from working with children or vulnerable adults.
Actors and supporting artists DBS checks
Most actors and performance artists will only need a Basic DBS Check, if anything. Most actors will not be working unsupervised with children or vulnerable adults, so they won’t require a higher level check and indeed probably won’t match the criteria for either a Standard or an Enhanced DBS Check.
The reason for this is that when on a production set, child actors and supporting artists will always be accompanied by a responsible adult such as a parent or guardian or a chaperone.
An exception to this may be an adult actor who performs a training or instructing role with a child actor on a one-to-one basis, that is extra to their acting job. In this case, it may be considered to be a regulated activity which would make it eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check.
Basic DBS Check rules for supporting artists in film and TV
Back in 2016, most of the TV broadcasters in the UK got together and created a new set of guidelines to govern background checks for supporting artists. The broadcasters included BBC, ITV, Sky, Channel 4, and Channel 5, as well as PACT, the TV trade body.
The upshot of the new guidelines was that all supporting actors and artists working for those broadcasters are now required to get a Basic DBS Certificate before they can start work if there will be minors (young people aged 18 or under) on set.
How to apply for a Basic DBS Certificate
To get a Basic DBS Certificate, you must first complete a Basic DBS Check. These days, it is very easy to apply for a Basic DBS Check, as you can do it all yourself online, right here at our site!
All you need to do is click to apply for a Basic DBS Check and you’ll be taken to an online application form which has automated self-checking built-in to help prevent mistakes that could delay the processing of your DBS check.
Then you need to supply some identity documentation. For any applicant who is a resident citizen in the UK, you simply need to upload a copy of one document from this group:
- Birth certificate (one that was issued within a 12 month timeframe of your birth)
- Valid and current passport
- Valid and current driving licence photocard (either a provisional or full licence)
You will also need to provide one more document from group two:
- A marriage or civil partnership certificate
- Bank or building society dated within the previous three months
- Utility bill dated within the past three months
For non-EEA applicants, the ID documents are different, but you can find out more here.
To apply for a Basic DBS Check through our easy-to-use online platform, click here now.