DBS / PVG Checks

CRB checks in England and Wales have had a new name since 1st December 2012. They are now called DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks. You can find out more on gov.uk.

In Scotland, childminders and nannies can undergo a Basic Disclosure or PVG check. You can find more information on Disclosure Scotland. In Northern Ireland, AccessNI, a branch of the Department of Justice, provide a Criminal History Disclosure Service.

It is very important that parents check that their potential childcarer has a DBS / PVG check in place and read any comments on the disclosure carefully. Note that some childminders who were registered before October 2005 in England might not have a CRB check because they will have been Police checked at the time and Ofsted hold these details, not the childminder.

Everyone who lives in a childminder’s house who is over the age of 16 must also have a DBS check. Checks are not normally updated by Ofsted (for English childminders) but are renewed every 3 years in Wales. Parents might find that some childcarers have more than one check if they do other child-related voluntary or paid work. 

It is recommend that anyone working with children holds an Enhanced DBS check rather than a standard DBS check.

A DBS / PVG check will help parents to find out more about the criminal history of their potential childcarer and / or childminder’s family. The following information is included in an enhanced DBS disclosure:

• Spent and unspent convictions;

• Cautions, warnings and reprimands via a search on the Police national database;

• Notification if the person is listed on the children’s or vulnerable adults’ barred list;

• Information held by Police or SAAFA if the childcarer has been in the army;

• Social services concerns relating to the childcarers children or family history.

Note that a DBS check is not infallible because it is only up-to-date on the day it is undertaken. However, it can provide parents with useful insights into their childcarer’s past. There is now something called the DBS Update Service which lets applicants keep their DBS certificates up-to-date online and allows employers to check a certificate online.

Please note that Childcare.co.uk cannot verify DBS / PVG checks for childcarers who are registered on our database. It is, therefore, very important that parents carry out their own robust checks during the interview process.

Applying for a DBS Check

There are many organisations that you can use to undertake a DBS check for a prospective employee. Some companies offering this service include Experian, Online DBS Checks, PersonalChecks, Complete Background Screening and ucheck.

Childcare providers can also use the Ofsted DBS Application portal provided by Security Watchdog, part of Capita Plc, to apply for a DBS check. Find out more about obtaining a DBS check as a childcare provider

Can I apply for my own DBS check?

Enhanced DBS checks can only generally be applied for by employers rather than employees or self-employed childcare providers.

However, if you live in England or Wales, it is now possible to request your own basic DBS check for a fee of £25 directly from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

You can also apply online for a Basic Disclosure from Disclosure Scotland which is the simplest form of check and contains only convictions considered unspent under The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

In Northern Ireland, you can apply online for an AccessNI basic criminal records check.

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