DBS Nanny UK Checks: Are They Required?

A fundamental aspect of establishing trust between a family and their nanny candidate is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. But are these checks a formality, or an indispensable requirement for nannies in the UK?

DBS checks are an essential component of the UK’s commitment to safeguarding children and vulnerable groups. They are designed to prevent unsuitable individuals from working with sensitive or vulnerable individuals by highlighting any criminal records and other relevant information from their backgrounds.

DBS checks are broadly categorised into three types:

  • Standard DBS check: assesses the criminal record history of an individual, revealing any convictions, cautions, reprimands, or warnings.
  • Enhanced DBS check: includes all the details of a standard check, plus any additional information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role.
  • Enhanced DBS check with barred lists: includes everything in the Enhanced check and also checks whether the individual is on the barred list, which makes it illegal for them to work with the group (children or vulnerable adults) they are barred from.

For nannies, who play a key role in shaping the early years of children, an Enhanced DBS check with barred lists is a standard requirement. This ensures that those entrusted with the care of children are thoroughly vetted and deemed suitable for such a sensitive and influential role.

In the following blog post, Nannies Matter explains the significance of DBS checks, their necessity and the process involved in obtaining them.

Are DBS checks a legal requirement?

In the UK, DBS checks are a legal requirement. Nannies, given their direct and often unsupervised contact with children, are placed in a position of trust and responsibility. As such, the law stipulates that nannies must undergo an Enhanced DBS check, ensuring that they do not have a criminal background that could pose a risk to the children they care for.

For families, hiring a nanny without a valid DBS check is not just a breach of trust; it is a dereliction of their duty to safeguard their children. It can also have legal repercussions. Similarly, nannies who seek employment without this essential credential may find themselves legally barred from working with children, significantly impacting their career in childcare.

Organising a DBS check is a mutual responsibility. Parents must insist on a valid DBS check before hiring a nanny, and nannies must ensure they have this accreditation as part of their professional portfolio. This mutual diligence helps to uphold the highest standards of safety and care in home-based childcare settings.

The process of organising a DBS check for nannies

A nanny must show a valid DBS check to work for a family in the UK. Typically, the employer (usually an authorised nanny agency like Nannies Matter, rather than an individual family) initiates the DBS check process. Nannies cannot apply for an Enhanced DBS check on themselves but can do so by registering with Ofsted or a nanny agency. The nanny may need to provide various forms of identification and other necessary information to complete the application.

Employers must verify the nanny's identity and ensure that all information provided for the DBS check is accurate and complete. Employers should also be aware of the legal requirement to ensure their nanny has the appropriate DBS check. For this reason, the process demands mutual responsibility from both the nanny and their employer.

Once submitted, the Disclosure and Barring Service processes the application. The time it takes can vary, but you can generally expect the DBS to issue a certificate within six weeks of submitting an application. If the nanny passes the check, the DBS certificate is sent directly to the nanny. It is then the nanny's responsibility to show this certificate to their potential or current employer to prove that they passed and are ready to work. This means that, by signing up with an agency, a nanny can organise an Enhanced DBS check and have the results ready before taking up employment.

Validity, renewal, and the update service

A DBS check does not come with an official expiry date. However, it is generally advised that a new DBS check should be obtained if:

  1. A significant period has elapsed: while there's no strict rule, many organisations renew DBS checks every one-to-three years.
  2. The individual changes roles, especially if the setting or the nature of the work changes significantly.

To streamline the process of maintaining updated DBS checks, the DBS Update Service was introduced. This allows nannies to keep their DBS certificates up to date, and allows employers to check a certificate online. Key benefits of the Update Service include:

  • Portability: a DBS certificate can be taken from one job to the next, as long as the new role does not require a higher level or different type of check.
  • Cost-efficiency: it eliminates the need for multiple checks, saving time and money.
  • Instant updates: employers can check the status of a DBS certificate online, with the individual's consent, and ensure that no new information has arisen since the certificate was issued.

Enrolling in the DBS Update Service, maintaining awareness of when a new check might be needed, and understanding the portability of a DBS check help to ensure a seamless employment process and the continuous protection of children.

How to start your nanny DBS check process

Nannies Matter specialises in matching nanny candidates with families who need high-quality care. If you are looking to hire a childcare provider, we can help by finding the right person to integrate into your family dynamic, arranging Enhanced DBS checks and ensuring you make the right choice for your needs.

Alternatively, if you are a nanny looking to work with a family, we will match you with families ideally suited to your skills and goals, and upon a job offer, we will arrange a free enhanced DBS check.

To learn more, simply call Nannies Matter today on 0800 212 4881, or fill out an online contact form and we will be in touch.

Captcha Code