What is a DBS check and how do I get one?

When it comes to finding your dream childcare role, responsible employers should ask for more than an application…

In fact, if you’re looking to work with children you’ll need something called an enhanced DBS check to confirm you’re an eligible candidate. It’s also a legal obligation for many jobs.

To help you understand what this involves here’s everything you need to know about DBS checks:

What is a DBS check?

The enhanced DBS check is the highest level required for positions that involve caring for, training, supervising or sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. An enhanced DBS check includes details of all convictions on record, whether spent or unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA). This means that even minor convictions are included on the enhanced DBS check. This is the criminal history that will be disclosed on an enhanced DBS check:

  • Spent convictions
  • Unspent convictions
  • Cautions
  • Warnings
  • Reprimands

Checks against ISA barred lists (i.e. lists of people who’ve been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults). In addition to this information, all enhanced DBS checks involve an extra level of check with your local police force records in addition to checks with the Police National Computer (PNC). Plus, your details will be checked against the government department lists held by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health, where appropriate.

How can I get a DBS check?

When it comes to applying for an Enhanced DBS check via After School Nannies will start an online application for you via our facilitating agent Civil and Corporate. You will have already submitted your ID documents to After School Nannies and it is our responsibility to verify those.

  • Civil and Corporate will contact you by email to ask you to complete your online application form. Their email is very helpful and gives clear instructions about what to expect at each stage of the online application process.
  • The online form comprises 4 sections:
  • Personal: Full name (as it appears on your passport), date of birth, phone number and email address, details of any names changes
  • Address: Current address and all previous addresses during the last five years
  • ID: Use either a current passport or UK driving licence to confirm your ID. If you have neither there is a comprehensive list of alternative documents to choose from
  • Position: This section confirms that you are applying for an enhanced DBS, in the Child Workforce (as a Nanny)
  • After School Nannies will complete final verification and you will be contacted by Civil and Corporate to make payment for the checks and clearance. This is currently £56. We advise you to pay as promptly as you can so that your application clears in time for you to start your new job.

How long does a DBS check take?

You should normally receive a copy of your certificate by post within four weeks, sometimes within a matter of days, but this can vary depending on busier times – for instance an increase in seasonal workers across summer.

How long does a DBS check last?

DBS checks have no official expiry date, but it’s up to your employer to decide when a new check is required. At After School Nannies we would not accept a DBS as valid outside a 3 year period, and ideally within 18 months of issue. 

We also advise our Nannies to join the DBS Update Service.

This is an online subscription service that lets you keep your enhanced DBS certificate up-to-date. It also allows employers to check a certificate online, with your consent. You can use your certificate again when you apply for a position within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required.

The 3 workforces are child, adult and other.

Registration lasts for one year. The service costs £13 per year and starts from the date your DBS certificate was issued. 

Only applicants that apply for a DBS check can join the Update Service.

If you are joining the Update Service when you apply for a DBS check, or during the application process, you can join using your DBS application form reference number. This can be found in the top right-hand corner of the front page of the application form, or you can ask After School Nannies to supply it.

If you join the Update Service using your application form reference number as mentioned above, your application must be received by the DBS within 28 days of you joining. When your DBS certificate is issued, it will then automatically be added to your account and your subscription to the service will be live.

You can also join the Update Service when you receive your DBS certificate, by using your certificate number. If you choose to do this, you must join the Update Service within 30 days of the ‘date of issue’ displayed on your certificate.

Benefits of joining:

  • saves you time and money
  • you can take your DBS certificate from role to role (if within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required)
  • employers can carry out instant online status checks on DBS certificates that are linked to your subscription
  • the service enhances safeguarding processes


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