DBS checks and the Update Service
Posted on 23rd November 2023
As Nannying is an unregulated industry, there is no legal ‘checklist’ for the paperwork a nanny must have in place. However, any professional nanny should have an enhanced DBS certificate.
What is a DBS certificate?
The DBS is the Disclosure and Barring Service, formally called CRB (Criminal Record Bureau).
They will perform a criminal record check, known as a DBS check. This is a snapshot into a candidates criminal record, and will provide the status of their criminal background as of the date the check is complete.
A basic DBS check is not sufficient to work in childcare, a Nanny needs an enhanced DBS check.
What does a DBS check cost?
A new enhanced DBS check costs around £50, depending on the processing company. Rosebud Nanny Agency uses a company called Atlantic Data to process DBS checks, this means the cost to an applicant is currently £49.46. We do not charge a penny on top of the DBS cost (hence the specific amount!) as it is illegal to profit from job seeking services – no nanny agency should charge a top up fee.
How long does a DBS certificate last?
There is a misconception that a DBS check lasts 3 years / should be re-done only after 3 years, so some nannies starting a new job think they don’t need to do a new one. This is incorrect – the certificate essentially goes out of date the day its printed. A clear certificate says that on the printing date, the applicant didn’t have a criminal record. If the nanny was arrested the following day, its not going to show on that bit of paper.
However, the DBS update service was brought in to keep a certificate valid – read on!
DBS update service
Fortunately, a few years ago, an online system was introduced to keep the certificate live. Once an applicant has a DBS check, they can register that certificate online for £13 per year with the DBS Update Service. Then at any time, we (or any agency) can check its live status. If the Nanny has not committed a crime since then, the online system will show that the information remains the same. If something has changed on their record, the system will advise a new DBS check is taken out – it will not give details.
What are the downsides of the update service?
The DBS update service is a wonderful thing to happen to the nanny industry, and used properly, means even for a babysitting request I can check their DBS status as of that day. However the system is flawed.
Firstly, the applicant must register the certificate with the online system within 30 days of the certificate being printed. Miss this deadline and you’ll have to pay for another DBS check.
Secondly, the £13 per year is taken from the nanny’s bank card, NOT their account. So every 3-5 years when their bank issues a new card, the update systems payment will fail to go through. They will email the applicant to tell them, but typically it will head to junk mail and be missed. So frustratingly often, I meet a nanny who thinks their DBS is registered with the online update service but they’ve been booted due to lack of payment – meaning a new DBS needs to be done.
If you require a new DBS check, contact Rosebud Nanny Agency to arrange a meeting.
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