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How Do I DBS Check My Nanny?

What is a DBS Check? 

A DBS Check (Previously known as CRB checks) is a criminal record check carried out to determine whether someone is suitable for a job. There can be strict eligibility criteria and carrying out a check isn’t always possible, or legal. 

DBS Checks are very common in the childcare industry. In general terms, working with children is what the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) would consider regulated activity. Anyone carrying out this activity would normally be entitled to a fully Enhanced DBS Check. 


Can we DBS Check our nanny? 

The short answer is no. Even though in many ways they would be eligible. 

Even though that person would be providing unsupervised childcare, a family hoping to employ aindependent babysitter wouldn’t be legally classed as an employer.  

At the moment, an Enhanced DBS Check can only be done by employers or specific licensing & regulatory bodies. This is done so that a ‘recruitment or suitability decision’ can be made on an employee. Helping employers make decisions that better safeguard the public. 

However, A Basic DBS Check can be performed bthe nanny themselves and they can choose to share the results of that DBS Check with the family should they wish.  


How do we know we’re leaving our children in safe hands? 

Many people in the childcare industry already have Enhanced DBS Checks in place. Either from previous employers or through a current childcare role.  

They may also be on the DBS Update Service. This is a system that allows people to check the most up to date record of a DBS check that has been carried out. 

If you are employing someone through a childcare agency, then these checks should definitely be in place. If they aren’t, that should raise alarm bells 

If any of this applies, then you have nothing to worry about. As long as they can provide you with up to date, valid information, you can be safe in the knowledge you are employing a professional.  

It is understandable why parents would seek a candidate with a DBS Check. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible.  


What else can we do? 

Whilst there are many childcare professionals out there, childcare arrangements are often made with people you know. Retired neighbours, relatives and teenagers (looking for some extra pocket money) are some of the most commonly employed casual sitters’ 

Verbal or written references from previous customers are invaluable in this situation. Speaking to previous clients can help lessen your concerns.  

This is particularly true if that person has previously been employed within childcare or teaching. Contacting an employer with experience safeguarding children could be very useful. 

Basic DBS Checks are also an option. They can be carried out by anyone and would show any ‘unspent’ convictions on someone’s record. This could provide some reassurance about the type of person you are dealing with. 


What does the future hold? 

Believe it or not, the nanny industry is currently unregulated. This is where much of the difficulty and confusion stems from. Personnel Checks are partners of the campaign Regulation Matters which aims to bring about regulation in the industry 

After numerous meetings with government ministers, nannies are now able to sign up to the Voluntary part of the Ofsted Childcare Register. Whilst this is a fantastic step forward it’s not the end of the journey. 

Currently, anyone can call themselves a nanny, or set up a nanny agency. This means there is still potential for bad childcare practices to go unnoticed and in the worst cases, actual abuse. This is why our mission to regulate the industry continues! 


If you have any questions about DBS Checks for your nanny, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01254 355688 or drop us an email on [email protected]. 


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