Safeguarding and wellbeing are clearly paramount in nurseries and early years childcare. As such, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks form an important part of safeguarding in the recruitment procedure.

In this blog we’ll outline the key information for nurseries and early years childcare organisations looking to apply for DBS checks, ranging from who’s eligible for checks to how you can apply.

Who is eligible for a DBS check?

There are three main levels of DBS check: basic, standard and enhanced. Confirming which employee is eligible for which level of check is crucial in ensuring accurate vetting takes place and is in line with legal requirements.

For those working in nurseries or early years childcare organisations, it’s likely they will be eligible for the highest level of DBS check – an enhanced check including a check against the children’s barred list. This is because most employees working in these organisations will be classed as engaging in regulated activity.

Other employees in the organisation may still be eligible for this level of check, even if they don’t work directly with children. This eligibility would be based on their place of work. If they work in a nursery or a registered childcare premises then they would be deemed to be working in a ‘limited range of establishments’.

As such, as long as they work there on a frequent basis (the DBS definition of ‘frequent’ can be found in the guidance we linked to above), then they will usually be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check against the children’s barred list. These circumstances apply to those working in roles like administration, catering or as a caretaker.

What can you do if an employee isn’t eligible for a higher level of DBS check?

Due to the nature of work in nurseries and early years childcare organisations, most employees will be eligible for an enhanced DBS check. However, if you have confirmed someone is not, you can still request a basic DBS check for them.

A basic check is the lowest level of DBS check available, but it will still detail any unspent convictions that an applicant has. As a general rule, this means any recent or serious convictions.

If the applicant lives and works in England or Wales then their basic disclosure will be process and issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service. Those working in Scotland can apply for a basic disclosure through Disclosure Scotland.

How to apply for DBS checks

Once you’ve confirmed which checks you need, you can start applying for DBS checks for your employees. Unless you’re likely to complete over a hundred checks annually, you’ll need to register with a DBS umbrella body to request your DBS checks.

These are organisations which are registered with the DBS and approved to process DBS check applications. Once you have completed the applications with the umbrella body, they will be sent to the DBS for processing.

DBS checks for nurseries and early years childcare: A summary

Here are some of the key points to remember when looking to apply for DBS checks as a nursery or early years childcare organisation.

  • Confirm which employees are eligible for a DBS check, and which level is most suitable
  • Remember to take all aspects of their role into account, including where they work
  • Register with a DBS umbrella body to start requesting DBS checks

Be sure to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. You can apply for a number of DBS Checks through our simple online platform – most checks are completed within 48 hours. Get started now.

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Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.

The information contained in our blogs have been provided for information purposes only. This information does not constitute legal, professional, or commercial advice. Whilst every care has been taken to ensure that the content is up to date, useful and accurate, uCheck gives no guarantees, undertakings, or warranties in this regard, or, for any loss or damage caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with reliance on the use of such information.

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