Self-Employed Nannies and Enhanced DBS Checks

Apply for a DBS Check

Hiring a nanny to look after children in their own home used to be something which was only an option for the very affluent. However, with rising costs for nurseries, and parents increasingly wanting to work full time, it’s becoming more affordable for regular families. Choosing a nanny for your children is a major decision, and one of the most important things parents think about is how safe their children will be in their care. Nannies fall into the category of people who need an enhanced DBS check, which is the most detailed level of criminal record checking. This is because nannies spend most of their working day alone with children, unsupervised.


Individuals and DBS Checks

Although nannies require an enhanced DBS check along with a search of the register of those legally banned from working with children, the difficulty is that individuals cannot apply for anything other than the basic DBS check. So how do parents get around this when dealing with a nanny who is self-employed and not part of a larger organisations? Parents should always check out their legal position carefully when hiring a nanny. Often, they will be defined as employers, and will have to also take on the responsibility for paying tax, National Insurance etc.

The only way a self-employed nanny can get an enhanced DBS check is via an approved childcare organisation. Most nannies and other related childcare professionals such as childminders are registered with OFSTED or their sister organisations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and these organisations will help self-employed nannies navigate the process for enhanced disclosure. The other option which many nannies choose is to register with a nanny agency, which can then perform the role of the registered body for DBS checking.


What Should Parents Look For?

One of the most common misconceptions about DBS checking is that any certificate must be completely clear of any convictions, cautions or reprimands in order for someone to be employed. This isn’t the case, and it’s up to the employer to decide whether to offer a position or not. In the case of a self-employed nanny, it’s up to the parents to make that decision. There are no right and wrong answers; some parents might be happy to overlook a minor criminal record, especially when taken in conjunction with excellent qualifications and experience. Other parents might refuse to even consider an applicant with a criminal record.


DBS Update and Nannies

Many nannies choose to enrol in the Update service as a way of streamlining their DBS checking and to make it easier to switch from one position to the next. DBS Update provides a database which is updated daily with any new information about the DBS certificate holder. As the information is always up to date, the nanny can give the log in details to her prospective clients, who can check immediately. This makes the whole process much slicker, as it cuts out processing delays involved with submitting a new application each time.