Are DBS Checks For Contractors Working In Schools Essential?
Most of us are aware that people employed at schools require an Enhanced DBS check, but it starts to get confusing when the question moves to contractors working in schools.
Do you need DBS checks for contractors such as electricians or plumbers working in schools? What if they work outside of school hours, or outside the building? What if the work will only take a couple of days at the school? What type of DBS check will be needed? Simply put, contractors working in schools are eligible for various checks, depending entirely on their opportunity for contact with children.
We’ve been asked all these questions dozens of times, so if you’re confused, then you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled the following guide discussing DBS checks for contractors working in schools, the different types of DBS checks available and eligibility for each check.
What Types Of DBS Checks Are There?
In total, there are three tiers of DBS check, and a couple of extra add-ons available with the third tier. These are:
Basic DBS Check – The lowest level, which shows unspent convictions. These checks can be requested by an individual or employer.
Enhanced DBS Check – Shows spent and unspent convictions, as well as any information believed to be relevant by the Local Police Force. Like Standard checks, these can only be requested by an employer.
If the contractor will be engaging in Regulated Activity with children whilst working at the school, they will also require an additional check against the Children’s Barred List. This is an additional check which can be performed as an add-on to the Enhanced check. Have a look at our dedicated page about the Barred Lists for more information.
DBS Checks For Contractors Working In Schools – Regulated Activity With Children
The following are always classed as a Regulated Activity with children:
- Personal care for children.
- Providing healthcare by a regulated healthcare professional (whether alone or under supervision).
- Foster care, or registered childminding.
- Managing or supervising anyone else who is partaking in regulated activity.
If the following are done regularly (more than 4 times in a 30-day period), they are classed as a Regulated Activity with children:
- Unsupervised activities such as teaching, caring for children or driving a children-only vehicle.
- Working in ‘Specified Places’ that have the opportunity to be in contact with children, for example, a school or children’s home. This government guide contains more information about Specified Places, but all you really need to know is that it means “somewhere we might reasonably expect there to be children”.
You can read more about Regulated Activity and what it is in our Regulated Activity And DBS Checks article: Regulated Activity And DBS Checks
DBS Checks For Contractors Working In Schools – What Check is Needed?
What level of DBS checks for contractors such as builders, electricians or plumbers working in schools will need is mainly dependent on the opportunity to be in contact with children.
Below, we have provided some examples of DBS checks for contractors working in schools, to demonstrate what level of check is necessary. We’ve done our best to break down some seriously complicated rules, so read carefully, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask us.
- Contractors working in schools who will be engaging in Regulated Activity require an Enhanced DBS check with Children’s Barred List check.
- Contractors working in schools who won’t be engaging in Regulated Activity, but are still working in a Specified Place with the opportunity for contact with children, for more than 3 days in a 30-day period – also require an Enhanced DBS check with a Children’s Barred list check.
- Contractors working in schools who won’t be engaging in Regulated Activity, but are still working in a Specified Place with the opportunity for contact with children, for less than 3 days in a 30-day period – require an Enhanced DBS check, but don’t qualify for a barred list check.
- Contractors working in a school, but where there is no opportunity for contact with children do not require a DBS check by law, and as such are only eligible for a Basic check.
For example, this could be because they’re working during school holidays, during the night, or in an area of the school off-access to children.
For this last point to be applicable, there must be no opportunity whatsoever for contact with children. We’ll create an example to explain what we mean:
Let’s say that the contractors are working during school hours, but in an area out-of-bounds to children. Every day, they must sign in and out at the school reception – but we can reasonably expect for there to be kids in the reception area. So in this situation, even though the contractors will be performing their role in an area with no opportunity for contact, they will regularly visit an area with opportunity. As a result, a Basic check would be inappropriate in this case.
Who Pays For DBS Checks For Contractors Working in Schools?
Usually, the school you are working at will decide what type of check you need, and offer to cover the costs if you are an independent contractor. If you are with an agency, the agency may offer to provide your DBS check.
If you are an independent contractor, you’ll be unable to request an Enhanced DBS check, as only employers can request these. In this situation, the school will have to arrange your DBS check for you. The school will usually cover the cost of the check, although they are not obligated to do so.
DBS Checks For Contractors Working in Schools – A Summary
To summarise DBS Checks for contractors working in schools, contractors working in schools are eligible for various checks, depending entirely on their opportunity for contact with children. For further reading, why not check out our post about DBS Checks for schools: DBS Checks For Schools 2023.
To find out more about DBS Checks for contractors working in schools, you can contact us today, we will be happy to help. Simply give us a call on 0113 877 0171, or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll do our best to help you and your DBS application sent off as soon as possible!
You can also visit our Schools and Education Section on our website for more information. Schools And Education Sector
If you are a contractor working in a care home, you can read more about eligibility guidelines in one of our latest posts, Do Contractors Working In Care Homes Need A DBS Check?