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DBS checks for childminders: the breakdown

If you are thinking about becoming a childminder you will have realised you need a DBS check by now. But what is a DBS check for childminders, why do you need one, and how do you get it done? 

Read on below for all the details on DBS checks, and other important background checks and documents for childminders.

Childminders need DBS checks to work with children


What is a DBS check? 

A DBS check is also called a ‘Criminal records check’. DBS stands for ‘Disclosure and Barring Service’. They are a non-governmental public body, sponsored by the Home Office. They help employers make sure that anyone they hire is suitable, and don’t have a criminal offence that would stop them from working in that role. 

DBS checks are needed as some people may have committed a violent crime, or sadly, abused a child in the past. It seems pretty obvious that anyone who has done that should not be allowed to work with children. The child’s mental and physical well-being comes first, and that’s why our childminders’ backgrounds are a big deal for us.

There are four different ‘levels’ of DBS checks: basic, standard, enhanced, and enhanced check with barred lists. A childminder needs an enhanced DBS check. An enhanced DBS check shows full details of a criminal record, like cautions, warnings and unspent convictions. The check also goes through the ‘barred list’ for children and vulnerable adults. This is so they can see if there is any reason why a person can’t work with these groups.

Who needs a DBS check?

Anyone working with children needs a DBS check. That means nannies, teachers, au pairs, paediatricians, TAs, and any other staff that work on the same premises as those children, like office staff and cleaners in a school. Childminders need DBS checks. You will not be allowed to work as a childminder without one. If you live with anyone else above 16—even your own children—they need DBS checks too.

What documents do I need for my DBS check?

Before you start your DBS check, you will need the postal addresses where you have lived for the last 5 years. If you have lived outside of the UK for some of that time, you will need other documents.

On top of your previous addresses, you will need photo identification (ID). This is usually a current passport, or a current driving licence. If you have only one of these, you will also need something like your birth certificate, or marriage certificate. 

You will also need a document as proof of your current address. This is usually something like a utility bill (gas, electricity, water, internet) or a bank statement. 


Where can I get an enhanced DBS check for myself?

Your employer should be able to get this done for you if you are employed. Because they employ you, they should also cover the cost of your enhanced DBS check. When you become a self-employed childminder with Koru Kids, we take care of the admin and initial costs too. If you only need a basic DBS check done, and you’re not planning on becoming a childminder, you can use the Gov.uk site or the Royal Mail to apply. You can’t apply for an enhanced DBS check as an individual, but can through working with a childminding agency like Koru Kids.

How long does a DBS check take, and how much does it cost?

It usually takes around 2 weeks for the DBS check to complete, and the enhanced check costs £48.10 (then £13.00 yearly for the update service). Costs usually incude:

  • the initial £48.10 of your DBS check completely when you train to become a childminder with us 
  • the initial £48.10 for any assistants trained by us that you might choose to work 

You would only cover:

  • the yearly £13.00 for the update service 
  • the one-off payment of the £5.00 voluntary DBS check for each adult that lives with you

What happens if my DBS check shows something?

It depends on what the records show. An amber warning would not necessarily mean you can’t work as a childminder, but it’s really important you are honest about any possible issues when you apply.

Are there other background checks and documents I need to become a childminder?

There are quite a few background checks involved when applying to become a childminder, all necessary to demonstrate that you are able to work with children and that you have the right to work in the UK as a childminder. This can include:

  • Reference checks
  • Local authority checks
  • ‘Known to Ofsted’ check
  • ‘Other agency’ checks
  • ‘Right to work’ check
  • Identity check

Health declaration

You’ll also need to complete a  health declaration. You usually need to fill in the form, then take it to your surgery for your GP to complete it. Many surgeries charge £90 or more for this service.

You will need a health declaration to prove you are physically able to look after small children on your own. It’s an active job as any parent already knows, so good health is important, for your sake and for the children’s.

Why would I do all this to become a childminder?

Do you enjoy working with children? Would you like to work from your own home? To regain control over your own time? And be able to look after your own children while you work? Do you want to make an impact where it really matters, in the early years? And think it’s important for small children to have safe, caring adults around, to help them flourish? We do. 

Not sure childminding is right for you?

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