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A Guide to DBS Checks For the Self-Employed

DBS checks (previously known as CRB checks) are sometimes essential to working in specific roles, industries and environments.

If you’re self-employed and need more information on how to get a DBS check, our guide is here to help.

Do the self-employed need DBS checks?

DBS checks are carried out by employers or individuals to prove suitability for a position. Depending on their occupation, self-employed people may need a DBS check to secure work.

There are three types of criminal record checks available, including Basic Disclosure and Standard & Enhanced DBS Checks. Standard and Enhanced checks are more thorough, searching for cautions, warnings, reprimands or convictions, and often needed for roles that involve contact with children or adults in vulnerable positions.

Basic Disclosures reveal any ‘unspent’ criminal convictions on an individual’s criminal record. Each conviction is given a timeframe for when it will become ‘spent’, which means if the applicant has not committed any other offences during this time, the applicant is then classed as rehabilitated.

What kind of jobs require a DBS check?

Lots of roles request a DBS check, including some you really wouldn’t expect. From carers to pest-control experts, there are a number of instances where a self-employed person would need to prove they are suitable to work. Even people applying for a Personal Licence to sell alcohol need an up-to-date Basic Disclosure.

Why should a self-employed person get a DBS check?

Many self-employed individuals are requested to obtain a criminal record check by organisations they are carrying out work in.

Having a check on record before seeking work can:

  Make an organisation more confident in giving you a contract

  Allow you to work in positions of trust and reliance

What level of DBS Check is a Self-Employed person eligible for?

Standard and Enhanced Checks are only available for organisations to apply for on behalf of their staff. This is because DBS Checks are for employers to be able to make a recruitment decision on potential employees.

For the self-employed, this poses an issue as there is nobody able to make a recruitment decision for them.

I’m self-employed – how can I get a DBS check?

For individuals who are self-employed, a Basic online check is the only level of DBS check available.

The Basic check searches your criminal record for any unspent convictions. These are often requested by employers to help them make informed recruitment decisions, protecting their business and customers. For self-employed individuals going into organisations on a temporary basis, this may even be a requirement.

Basic checks are available to any individual and are easily and quickly applied for online.

If you’re certain you need a Standard or Enhanced check, many self-employed people are turning to the organisation and requesting the check from them as they can apply for Standard or Enhanced checks on your behalf if your role meets DBS eligibility criteria.

What is the DBS Update Service?

If the company requesting a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check obtains it for you, you can sign up to the DBS Update Service. This means, for an annual fee of £13, you can give organisations permission to check if anything’s changed on your certificate.

This means the same DBS check can be made portable as long as you’re undertaking the same role for each organisation.

You can register for the update service using your DBS application form number, as long as the DBS receives your application within 28 days. Alternatively, you can apply with your certificate number within 30 days of the certificate issue date.


If you’re self-employed and need to provide a Basic check, you can request one here.
For a Standard or Enhanced DBS check, please give us a call on 01254 355688 and we’ll be happy to help you find the solution that’s right for you.

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