Do the Self-Employed Need DBS checks?

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, formerly known as CRB checks, are increasingly used by employers to gauge whether a candidate is suitable for a position, particularly where that person is likely to come into contact with young or vulnerable people.

At first sight it might seem that this is a limited area of employment, and yet there are many areas of work where a DBS check will be appropriate, even when applying for licences to sell alcohol.
 Putting aside the directly employed, why would a self-employed worker need a basic DBS check? The answer is that as the number of self-employed workers increases, there are also an increasing number of industries, roles and environments which demand such checks.


A good starting point to check requirements is to be found online at the government website: There are three kinds of DBS checks: a basic DBS check and standard and enhanced checks. The former, which is the only one a self-employed person can apply for, relates to “unspent” criminal convictions which may still appear on an individual’s criminal record. Once any conviction is considered to be spent within the timeframe set by the court, the offender is considered rehabilitated. Standard and enhanced checks are more thorough and include processes such as cautions.

To this end basic DBS checks can be found online.


One of the main reasons for getting a check is that employers and companies hiring a self-employed worker will most likely look more favourably at a candidate who has been pro-active and already got a check. In some cases, even though the individual is only going on to premises on a temporary basis, a DBS check may be a requirement.

Should the organization contracting the self-employed require a standard or enhanced check, it can apply for DBS checks on the individual’s behalf. Enhanced checks are usually only appropriate where the work involved means contact with young people, children or vulnerable adults.

Some self-employed people may be working under a registered body. In this case it is the organization’s responsibility to apply for checks.

DBS checks have no expiry date, and the check will only be an accurate record at the time it was carried out. However, there is a DBS update service which individuals can sign up to allowing online checks.

About the author: kevin

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