With Easter on the horizon, lots of parents will be thinking about Easter holiday childcare – and lots of organisations will be running holiday clubs over the break.
If your organisation is thinking of setting up a holiday club, you may be wondering how to go about getting DBS checks, and who’s eligible for them.
Safeguarding is a top priority for childcare organisations, and DBS checks play a vital role in this. Confirming the DBS process and eligibility requirements is a crucial step to ensure safeguarding measures are in place.
So what are the key points when it comes to obtaining DBS checks for Easter holiday childcare?
Who’s eligible for a check?
When it comes to working with children, many employees will be eligible for a DBS check because they’ll be working in ‘regulated activity’ with children. But what does regulated activity mean?
Regulated activity with children is, in summary, defined as anyone who is teaching, training, instructing, coaching or supervising children, or driving a vehicle for children.
Many of those working with children in a childcare setting would therefore be classed as engaging in regulated activity, and would be eligible for an enhanced DBS check with a check against the children’s barred list.
This is the highest level of DBS check available, and the barred list check will provide assurance that the person in question hasn’t been barred from working with children.
Staff members will also be eligible for an enhanced DBS check if they work in particular places, deemed a ‘limited range of establishments’. These include establishments like schools, nurseries and children’s homes. If an Easter holiday club is based in one of these establishments, staff members working there would be eligible for an enhanced DBS check because of their place of work, even if they don’t engage directly with the children.
What if an employee isn’t eligible for a check?
If you’re in doubt, you can determine an employee’s eligibility for a check by contacting the Disclosure and Barring Service. But what can you do if you’ve determined that an employee isn’t eligible for a higher level of DBS check?
Employers can request a basic disclosure on any employee, which will show any unspent convictions the applicant has. ‘Unspent’ usually refers to convictions that are recent or serious.
This is a lower level of criminal record check than those discussed previously, but it’s a useful check to request if employees are not eligible for a higher-level check.
A basic disclosure will either be issued by the DBS or Disclosure Scotland, depending on whether the applicant is living and/or working in England and Wales or Scotland.
How can I request these checks?
Higher levels of DBS check, like enhanced checks, will need to be requested by the employer – individuals cannot request this level of check themselves. Employers can do this by registering with a DBS umbrella body. These companies are licensed to process DBS check applications and send them to the DBS for vetting.
Once an employer has registered with an umbrella body, they can request the DBS checks they need for eligible staff.
Timescales for DBS checks can vary depending on the method the request is made by. For example, paper applications may take longer than those made using an online form. At CRB Check Online, our average turnaround time is just 48 hours for both standard and enhanced DBS checks.
DBS checks for Easter holiday childcare: key points
DBS checks form a key element of safeguarding for those offering Easter holiday childcare. But what are the key points to remember to ensure the DBS process runs smoothly?
- Consider who’s eligible for higher levels of DBS check – think about the place of work and role of each applicant to see if they meet the eligibility criteria. If in doubt, the DBS can help.
- Think about requesting basic disclosures for those who aren’t eligible for a higher level of DBS check. These checks are still a useful tool in safeguarding and recruitment.
- Register with an umbrella body. Timescales can vary for DBS checks – especially if they’re queried by the DBS or submitted with incorrect information – so make sure you request your checks with adequate time in case of any issues.