We're operating as normal during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. To see more information on how we're managing the situation - CLICK HERE


self employed.jpg

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, read Personnel Checks' guide to DBS checks for the self-employed. Here you’ll find all you need to know about what type of check you need, and how to apply! 

Do self-employed people 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 DBS Checks available: Basic, Standard and Enhanced.

Standard and Enhanced checks are more thorough, searching for cautions, warnings, reprimands or convictions, and are often required for roles that involve contact with children or adults in vulnerable positions. Enhanced checks can also search the children and adults barred list. 

Basic DBS Checks checks reveal any ‘unspent’ criminal convictions and conditional cautions on an individual’s criminal record. Each conviction is given a timeframe for when it will become ‘spent’, which means at the end of this time, if the applicant has not committed any other offences during this period, the applicant is then classed as rehabilitated and the conviction would become ‘spent’.

Read more about what each level of DBS Check shows here.

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

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 for you to apply for yourself.

The Basic check searches your criminal record for any unspent convictions. These are often requested by employers to help them make informed 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.

Why can't a self-employed person apply for an Enhanced DBS Check?

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, there is nobody suitable to make an informed recruitment decision for them.  

However, if you are self-employed and require an Enhanced DBS check, you may be able to get one (dependant on your sector) through your local governing body or authority.  

For example, a private doctor may require an Enhanced DBS check and they would go through their agency (i.e. BUPA) who would process the check for them. 

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. 

Please note, Personnel Checks are unable to sign applicants up to the Update Service, this must be done by the applicant themselves. You can do this by contacting the DBS directly. Find out more about the Update Service here. 


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.

Leave a comment