Safeguarding the Future: Understanding Childcare Background Checks

On this blog, we’ve previously written about the background checks that should be made for those working with school-age children – check out our post ‘Do I Need a DBS Check to Volunteer in a School?’ – but what about younger children?

Do You Need a DBS Check to Work in a Nursery?

In short, yes. Anyone who works directly with children or runs a childcare organisation, such as a nursery or day care, requires a DBS check. This includes students and volunteers as they will also have unsupervised contact with children.

Furthermore, if you run a childminding service from your home, then any adults living at your address will also need a DBS check.


Whose Responsibility is it to Check Staff?

It is the responsibility of an employer to organise background checks for day care employees, therefore you should work with staff to ensure they have the correct checks and that they are up-to-date.

However, Ofsted also undertake checks on a number of people working in different childcare roles and ensure the correct screening is in place. This will usually happen during an inspection of an organisation.

Ofsted will not accept any certificates with completion dates of more than three months ago, therefore it is essential that you sign up to the updating service when applying for a check. This will run regular checks to ensure no information has changed and a certificate is up-to-date.

Are the Appropriate Checks Always Made?

Although childcare background checks are made in the majority of cases, there are rare instances where standards are not met.

A BBC report in April 2018 stated that an Oxfordshire authority had failed to properly record criminal record checks on its staff. An official audit found that 67% of staff did not have up-to-date DBS certificates, which was blamed on ‘IT issues’ over the previous year and a lack of ‘robust systems’.

Another excuse used by those who have not carried out the correct checks may be, as certificates can sometimes take weeks to come through, employers may allow a staff member or volunteer on their word that a check has been done and the certificate is ‘on its way’. Plus, other organisations may risk not getting checks on new employees as they recently had a check by Ofsted and are not due for another for some years.

For these reasons, we would always encourage parents do their due diligence when choosing a nursery or day care for their children.

How Can You Ensure Your Staff Checks Are Up-to-Date?

If you run a nursery or childcare service and would like to learn more about safeguarding processes and ensuring your staff have been appropriately screened, get in touch with our friendly team today.

We will be able to talk you through childcare background checks, the level of DBS check required and the process of applying. Plus, we can help you enrol your staff on the Update Service, so you receive notification of any changes once a certificate has been issued.

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