A Guide To DBS Checks for Under 18s
One question we get asked quite frequently is “Can under 18s get a DBS Check?”
It’s a good question. Under UK law, people who work in roles that involve direct contact, care, or supervision of children need to get a DBS Check, most often an Enhanced DBS Check.
But what about people aged under 18 who work with children or vulnerable adults. They are still children or minors in the eye of the law, so do they need to get a DBS Check?
We’ll set out to answer that question in this short guide to DBS Checks for under 18s.
Historical rules (before 2012)
There is a good reason for the confusion around DBS Checks for minors. Before 2012, you could apply for criminal background checks (known as CRB Checks back then) for children as young as 13.
Between 2002 and 2008, around 750,000 people aged under 18 were vetted by carrying out a CRB Check.
At the time, the reason given for checking people at such a young age was that the legal age of criminal responsibility is 10 years old. Therefore, any child aged 10 years or more who wanted to work or volunteer in a role that required a criminal background check would need to get one.
Post-2012 DBS Check legislation
In September 2012, the government changed the way that criminal background checks are applied for and processed in the UK. Firstly, the name of the issuing body was changed from Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
The government also changed some of the rules surrounding DBS Checks. The new rules stated that children aged 16 years or more must get a DBS Check if the role requires it, but nobody under the age of 16 is eligible.
Which roles require people aged 16 or more to get a DBS Check?
The most common situation that makes somebody aged between 16 and 18 eligible for a DBS Check is when they are in training, apprenticeships, or work placements for young people.
For instance, a 16 year old who leaves school and wants to train as a care worker will most likely need a DBS Check before starting in the role.
In other words, any role for 16 to 18 year olds that involves working with children or vulnerable adults, whether it is full-time, part-time, unpaid work experience, or voluntary, will more than likely require a DBS Check.
Another situation that may require a 16 to 18 year old to get a DBS Check is if they are a member of a foster care household, even if they are not involved in supervising or caring for the foster child or children.
Apply for a DBS Check online – the easy way
If you need a DBS Check, the easiest way to apply these days is using our online platform. The form automatically checks for common mistakes, so it is more accurate, and you get the results within 48 hours of submission (on average).
If you’d like to find out more about DBS Checks, including how to apply online, contact us today.