Safeguarding in TV and film is of paramount importance. Production companies have a responsibility to make sure the children and vulnerable adults they work with are protected, and will no doubt want to ensure anyone they employ has had the appropriate background checks.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks are designed to prevent people from gaining employment they’re unsuitable for. However, there are different levels of DBS check, and each comes with its own eligibility requirements.

It’s important for production companies to be familiar with these to ensure the people they employ have the right type of check, if any. Our guide explains everything you need to know.

Safeguarding in TV and film: The different levels of DBS check

There are three different levels of DBS check:

  • A basic DBS check will reveal any unspent convictions the applicant has. There are no eligibility requirements for a basic check – anyone can apply for one.
  • A standard DBS check will reveal any spent or unspent convictions the applicant has, as well as any cautions, reprimands or warnings they’ve received. To be eligible for a standard check, a role must be listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. Individuals cannot apply for standard DBS checks for themselves – an employer must do it on their behalf.
  • An enhanced DBS check will reveal the same information as a standard check, as well as any relevant information held by the applicant’s local police authority. Depending on the applicant’s role, an enhanced check may also include a check of the children’s and/or adults’ barred list. To be eligible for an enhanced check, the applicant must engage in regulated activity with children and/or adults. As a rough guide, this means anyone who has regular unsupervised contact with children as part of their role. Like standard checks, employers must apply for enhanced checks on their employees’ behalf.

Safeguarding in TV and film: Which level is the right level?

Most employees working on a TV or film set will only be eligible for a basic DBS check – even if there are children on set.

Any children on set should be accompanied by an appropriate adult, and therefore other employees will not have unsupervised contact with them.

Some employees may have contact with children – for example, directors, producers or makeup artists – but this contact would be incidental and not the main purpose of their role. And, as the child would be accompanied by a chaperone, there would be no eligibility for an enhanced DBS check.

An enhanced check would only be suitable if the person in question was employed directly to undertake a regulated activity – for example, a chaperone employed to accompany a child on set, or someone who teaches or trains children whilst unsupervised.

Safeguarding in TV and film: A summary

In the majority of cases, employees working on a film set will only be eligible for a basic DBS check. This type of check will help ensure the safety of any vulnerable people the applicant works with.

We hope our guide has given you a better idea about the DBS checking aspect of safeguarding in TV and film. If you’d like to know more about DBS check eligibility, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, or contact the DBS directly.

Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect M G Care Executive Limited trading as uCheck'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 is only valid on the day of publication and 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, M G Care Executive Limited trading as 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.