A Guide To DBS Checks For Subcontractors
The guidance on DBS Checks for subcontractors is often not as clear as it is for full-time permanent employees.
For instance, full-time jobs that are governed by professional bodies such as Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) have clear rules in place when it comes to criminal background checks.
Subcontractors on the other hand are often left in the dark when it comes to DBS Check requirements. In this brief guide, we aim to clarify the types of subcontractor roles that may need a DBS Checks, the level of DBS Check you should get, and how to apply for one.
What do we mean by subcontractor?
A subcontractor is an individual or company that is taken on by another company or organisation on a non-permanent contract to fulfil a specific role or complete certain activities.
Certain industries use a lot of subcontractors to get specialist work done, such as the construction industry who employ subcontractors to carry out trade work such as plumbing, electrics, plastering, bricklaying, roofing, or scaffolding.
Subcontractors may also be hired by main contractors to work on a project. For instance, a main contractor for a railway project may hire subcontractor workers to do specialist signalling work or track installation.
Subcontractors are also becoming more common in healthcare, especially as demands on the NHS grow.
What level of DBS Check is suitable for subcontractors?
The level of DBS Check that is needed as a subcontractor depends entirely on the role or activity being undertaken.
There are three levels of DBS Check available:
- Basic DBS Check – reveals unspent convictions and conditional cautions only and can be applied for by any individual aged 16 or over.
- Standard DBS Check – reveals any unspent and spent convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands, but the application must be verified and submitted by a DBS registered body.
- Enhanced DBS Check – reveals the same details as a Standard DBS Check, as well as any additional relevant information that exists on police records. If the role is classed as a ‘regulated activity’, then a DBS barred list check will be requested in addition to the Enhanced DBS Check.
The level of DBS Check needed for a subcontractor depends on factors such as where they work and the frequency they will be there.
If the role takes place in a ‘limited range of establishments’ such as a school or hospital, then there is a good chance that they will need an Enhanced DBS Check.
Equally, if the role involves a regulated activity (direct, unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults on three or more occasions within a 30 day period), then an Enhanced DBS Check with barred list check will be asked for.
Examples of regulated activities include teaching, instructing, training, or caring for children or vulnerable adults.
Subcontractors who do not carry out any unsupervised tasks or activities may still qualify for an Enhanced DBS Check or a lower level of DBS Check.
Other subcontractor role that may need a DBS Check
The following roles are examples that may need a DBS Check:
- Transporting vulnerable adults or children to and from healthcare
- Working with a limited range of establishments such as a childcare centre, school, or nursery
- Care home workers
- Support workers
If a subcontractor works in one of those roles or similar, more than once per month, then they should check with the relevant DBS guidance to see if they are eligible for a check or talk to one of our advisors for assistance.
Do any subcontractor roles need a Basic DBS Check?
Yes, there are certain situations and job roles that may require a subcontractor to get a Basic DBS Check.
For instance, a subcontractor who does not work in a limited range of establishments and is not involved in any unsupervised activities with children or vulnerable adults, including transporting them to and from healthcare, may only need a Basic DBS Check.
A Basic DBS Check is often desirable for subcontractors as they can use it to demonstrate that they are trustworthy to any potential employers. A subcontractor can apply for a Basic DBS Check themselves as they do not need a DBS registered body to verify the information on the application form.
How to apply for a DBS Check
If a subcontractor wants to apply for DBS Check, they can complete an application form by hand and post it to the DBS. However, this method can take a number of weeks to get the results and DBS certificate.
A much quicker way is to apply for a DBS Check online. Subcontractors can use our online platform to fill in an easy-to-use application form and we will check it, verify the ID documents, and submit it on their behalf. Using our online DBS Check service means you will get the results within 48 hours on average, with the certificate arriving in the post within approximately two weeks.
Summary of DBS Checks for subcontractors
Subcontractors may be eligible for a DBS Check, especially if they work in a limited range of establishments or a regulated activity, as safeguarding rules will apply in those cases.
If you would like to find out more about DBS Checks for subcontractors or have a query related to our online DBS Check service, get in touch with one of our expert advisors today.
Alternatively, click here to begin the DBS application process online.