A Guide To DBS Checks for Early Years Childcare & Nurseries
Child safeguarding is a very important process for early years childcare and nurseries.
The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales (and Disclosure Scotland in Scotland) provide criminal background checks known as DBS Checks to provide safeguarding reassurance when recruiting people for roles in nurseries and early years childcare.
In this brief guide, you’ll find a breakdown of how DBS Checks apply to early years childcare and nurseries, which roles are eligible, and how organisations can manage the application procedure.
Which nursery and early years childcare roles need a DBS Check?
Before looking at the types of roles that require DBS Checks within these organisations, we first need to define the three different levels of DBS Check – Basic, Standard, and Enhanced.
A Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of check and searches through an individual’s criminal record for unspent convictions and conditional cautions only. Any person aged 16 or over can apply for a Basic DBS Check without verification from a registered body.
A Standard DBS Check reveals any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands that are present on an applicant’s criminal record.
An Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of check and reveals the same details as the Standard DBS Check, as well as any relevant police information held on file. Both the Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks need to be verified by a registered organisation before submission.
Most roles within a nursery or early years childcare setting will need the highest level of check – i.e. the Enhanced DBS Check. Even staff (or residents) that are not working directly with the children, such as cleaners and administrative staff, may also be classed as regulated activity workers, as they are in a location referred to by the DBS as a “limited range of establishments”.
If a staff member is working on a frequent basis in an early years childcare organisation or nursery, then it is likely that they will need an Enhanced DBS Check.
Nursery and early years childcare staff that do NOT require Enhanced DBS Checks
In some cases, there may be people working in nurseries and childcare establishments that do not need the highest level of DBS Check, i.e. an Enhanced DBS Check.
For instance, chefs and cleaners may not require a high level check. However, the managers or owners of the childcare facilities may request a Basic DBS Check. Basic DBS Checks are open to anyone aged 16 years or over.
How to apply for a DBS Check
If you are applying to work at a nursery or childcare establishment, you may be wondering how to get a DBS Check. The first step is that the employer needs to decide which level of DBS Check is appropriate for each role.
Once that has been decided, the next step is for the applicant to fill in a DBS application form. This can be done on paper and posted to the DBS or it can be filled in online and sent automatically for processing.
An employer can start submitting the DBS applications for employees and potential recruits. If they are processing more than 100 checks per year, the employer should register with a DBS registered third party. We can provide that service at DBSChecks.org, as well as provide an online portal to complete the application form.
Summary of DBS Checks for nurseries and early years childcare
Most nursery and childcare workers are eligible for the highest level of criminal background check – an Enhanced DBS Check. If the role is classed as a regulated activity, then the applicant will also need to get a children’s barred list check to make sure they are not banned from working with children.
To find out more about DBS Checks, including how to use our online DBS check application service, then get in touch today.