DBS Checks and Self-Employment: Our Guide

DBS Checks and Self-Employment

I’m self-employed – should I get DBS check?

If you’re self-employed, you may feel that a DBS check would put you ahead of your competitors when looking for work.

A DBS check may give potential clients more confidence in you, and would enable you to work in positions that require more trust and responsibility. Clients may also be impressed by your proactivity and dedication in seeking a DBS check.

These factors all seem to suggest that having a DBS check is an obvious choice for self-employed individuals. However, it’s not quite that simple. Our guide to DBS checks and self-employment explains it all:

Am I eligible for a DBS check?

DBS checks are carried out by employers to assess an employee’s suitability to undertake a particular role and to protect customers, members of the public or individuals under care.

Standard and enhanced DBS checks are required for roles that involve contact with children or vulnerable adults. These checks disclose in-depth details of an individual’s convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings and include both ‘spent’ and ‘unspent’ convictions.

Standard and enhanced DBS checks are only available to organisations applying for them on behalf of their staff.

Current legislation does not allow self-employed people or individuals to apply for a DBS check on themselves as they can’t ask an ‘exempted question’ of themselves.

So what should I do?

As a self-employed individual, you do qualify for a Basic Disclosure from Disclosure Scotland.

This type of check searches the Police National Computer for details of all current convictions. It will either disclose these details or confirm there are none.

Basic Disclosures are often requested by employers when recruiting to help them protect their business and customers.

Having a Basic Disclosure as a self-employed worker will reassure potential clients and give them greater confidence in your character and history.

What if I work with children or vulnerable adults?

If you are working as a contractor for an employer, it is the employer’s responsibility to apply for the check on your behalf.

In some professions, you’ll be expected to have a DBS check – for example, as a private tutor.

However, it’s not a legal requirement for private tutors to have DBS checks (although it is, of course, a serious criminal offence to seek work with children if you’ve been barred from doing so).

If you’re self-employed, you can get around this by signing up to an agency. The agency will be eligible to apply for a DBS check on your behalf in the process of assessing your candidacy for registration on its books.

As a tutor or nanny, for example, having a DBS check will give parents a much greater degree of confidence in your suitability for the position. It will also give you a much wider reach in seeking and securing work.

DBS Checks and Self-Employment: In summary

As a self-employed individual, you’re only eligible to apply for a Basic Disclosure.

Whilst basic checks have some benefits, a standard or enhanced DBS check will give clients or employers greater peace of mind when hiring you, and is essential if you work with children or vulnerable adults.

A recruitment agency or hiring organisation will be eligible to apply on your behalf.