DBS Checks for Working in Education
The majority of the time, DBS checks are required for individuals who work with children or vulnerable adults. This also applies to volunteers who are not receiving any payment. To be eligible for certain positions in specific industries like education, individuals must verify that they have no criminal history which may pose a conflict to children or vulnerable adults they come into contact with.
Roles in education require the majority of applicants to apply for an Enhanced DBS check, with an additional Barred List check. Teachers in schools, universities and nurseries need DBS check applications. Tutors are often required to work unsupervised with children; therefore it's quite common for them to obtain some sort of background check, too.
Although there is no legal requirement for tutors to apply for a DBS check, some tutoring agencies and companies will request that all of their tutors obtain a DBS certificate before they begin work.
Because the role of a private, self-employed tutor involves working directly with children, there are many questions about what the correct procedure is.
How do I Apply for DBS Checks as a Self-Employed Tutor?
Basic, Standard and Enhanced DBS checks can be carried out for tutors. DBS checks for employers are slightly different; as a tutor employer, you can request any type of DBS check on any of your staff, depending on the eligibility criteria.
Everyone over the age of 16 can apply for a Basic DBS check, which reveals any ‘unspent’ criminal convictions. For self-employed people, this is the only level of check which you can apply for without being explicitly requested by an employer to do so.
Only employers can request higher levels from their employees, such as a Standard DBS check and an Enhanced DBS check. It is at their discretion to determine whether you will need these levels of check carried out. This is so they can see if you have been permanently barred from working with vulnerable groups. Therefore, if you work for a tutoring agency, it is up to them whether you will need to apply for a Standard DBS check or Enhanced DBS check to work for their company. Ensuring that employees have up-to-date DBS certificates works in their favour, to reassure parents and guardians that they are upholding the expected standards and precautions for their staff.
Most private tutoring agencies that take on freelance or self-employed tutors are legally required to have their employees DBS-certified. This means you can still operate as a sole trader, and have an Enhanced DBS check for individuals carried out, for example.
Subject Access Requests
You may have heard of Subject Access Requests before. SARs represent an individual’s right to request any data held on them by an organisation or company. They are based on a person’s right to access their own data. These are free of charge and can be obtained from your local police force. However, SARs are not suitable replacements for DBS checks.
What Type of DBS Check is Recommended?
Enhanced disclosure will reveal warnings, cautions, reprimands and convictions as well as any information held by local police authorities. It will also disclose any information contained on the Children’s Barred List. This is the highest level of DBS check online and will help employers get as much information as possible to determine the suitability of an applicant.
If you are a tutor, you may not have the option to choose which DBS check to apply for, through your agency or umbrella organisation.
How Long Does a DBS Check Take?
Enhanced DBS checks, due to being more detailed, have an average turnaround time of 5-10 working days, with 80% of them being completed within 5 days. The same is for Basic DBS checks once they have been submitted. However, Standard DBS checks are typically completed within 48 hours of submission.
DBS check applications can vary in turnaround times due to additional information required by local police forces. Delays can be caused due to incomplete, mismatching or inaccurate information. So it’s highly recommended that you ensure everything is correct on your form.