DBS check FAQs in England

For information on DBS checks in Wales see here

What is the Disclosure and Barring service?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

Why do I need a DBS check?

A DBS check is a requirement of registration and checks your suitability to work with children.

Does anyone else in my setting need one?

Anyone else aged 16 or over living and/or working on the premises. So this means your partner, children over 16 (including those at university), lodgers etc.

I have an old CRB, do I need a DBS?

If you registered as a childminder before October 2005 with an enhanced CRB disclosure, you do not need to replace this with a DBS check as the EYFS states that those whose suitability was checked by Ofsted or their local authority before October 2005 are deemed to have met the requirements.

I registered after 2005, what do I need to have?

If you have registered with Ofsted since October 2005 you would have received a CRB check, until it became known as a DBS check in December 2012.

There is no official expiry date for a criminal record check issued by DBS. The information revealed on a DBS certificate will be accurate at the time the certificate was issued. It is strongly recommended that you sign up to the DBS update service.

Do I need to sign up to the update service?

Childminders can choose whether to sign up to the update service. It is no longer compulsory, however Ofsted strongly advises that you do. It costs £13.00. It can be done at the point of application or you can sign up within 30 days of the DBS certificate date.

What are the benefits of registering with the update service?

Registering with the update service means you can then use this for any new jobs or roles with children. You won’t have to apply for a new certificate each time. It also means that if Ofsted needs to repeat your DBS check in the future, for example if your circumstances change, they can do this without you having to pay a fee for a new check. You have to enter your DBS certificate number to register for the service.

What if I already have a have a DBS certificate?

You may be able to use an existing DBS certificate if you have an enhanced certificate for a childcare role. It will have to say it's for a home-based position if you are applying to be a childminder. Ofsted will accept the certificate if either of the following apply:

  • you’ve signed up to the DBS update service
  • the certificate is dated in the last three months and you haven’t had any gaps in your employment since that date

What about if I wanted to employ an assistant?

If you are employing assistants, or the occupants in the household change, you will need to apply for DBS checks on new individuals in the setting.

For over 16s an EY2 form needs to be completed, as well as a DBS.

How do I apply for a DBS?

Follow Ofsted's application process to apply for your DBS check.