Why You Need An Enhanced DBS Certificate To Work In The Care Industry?


Carer smiling whilst helping an elderly client with washing up

If you have been working as a Live-in Carer in the UK for some time, you will know that to do so you are required to have an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Certificate. Either completed by your employer/agency or one that is subscribed to the DBS Update Service. If you are new to the world of Health & Social Care, here is a helpful article to give you all the info you need about working as a live-in carer and the DBS certificate you’ll require.

What is a DBS?

Let us firstly answer the basic question – What is a DBS? This is a check of your criminal record which will show details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings held on central police records (apart from protected convictions and cautions).

What is an ‘Enhanced DBS’?

The Enhanced DBS checks all of the above PLUS It can also check against the children and/or adults barred lists (The barred lists allow the DBS to keep a record of people who are not permitted to work in a regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults).

Why is an Enhanced DBS Certificate Required?

In a nutshell – to help safeguard the vulnerable people you will be caring for. Working within the Health & Social Care Industry is a big responsibility. In one- way or another, you will be responsible for the safety and welfare of another person. For this reason, your employer (or any person that may wish to engage your services if you are self-employed) needs to be sure that you are suitable for this role. One way of checking this is for an Enhanced DBS Certificate to be gained.

The purpose of a DBS check is to help employers/agencies/organisation in England and Wales to make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups.

It is therefore vital that anyone working within the care industry has an Enhanced DBS check.

However, as strong a recruitment tool as the DBS is, it should not be used in in isolation. A combination of other procedures should also be factored in. Such procedures include, checking employment history for gaps and reviewing references, to ensure that every possible step has been taken to determine whether a person is of good character and are fit to work in the industry. Please click the following for more information on providing a full work history or reference details.

Who can apply for an Enhanced DBS for me?

To submit a DBS application, employers or organisations need to have, or be, a registered ‘umbrella body’. An umbrella body is an organisation that is registered with the DBS to countersign applications. There is a list of all the official umbrella bodies on the DBS website. At Access Care, the umbrella body we use is the United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA), which countersigns all DBS applications which are submitted.

To be able to submit a DBS application, an agency requires the following from an applicant:

  • A completed DBS application form

  • Proof of your identity, in the form of photographic ID

  • Proof of your address, from a list of acceptable official documents

  • Possible payment. This depends on the organisation and a question you should ask. At Access Care we charge £60 for this service.

Once applied for, how long does an Enhanced DBS Certificate take to come back?

We understand that when you apply for a job, you are probably keen to get started as soon as possible! Once a DBS application has been submitted online, there is no exact time that the result will be received back. Typically, in 2020, enhanced DBS checks have been taking between 24hr & 5days, certificates are subject to any postal delays, so it is anticipated to allow up to two weeks. It could be anywhere between a few days to several weeks, sometimes longer. Factors affecting the length of time include whether:

  • the details provided for the check are accurate

  • several police forces need to be involved or contacted

The best thing we can advise you when filling out any DBS application, is to provide information that is accurate and honest.

Once a DBS result is received, you will have the opportunity to subscribe your certificate to the DBS Update Service. For a full article on this – please click here.