DBS Checks For Under 18s – 2024

DBS checks are a legal requirement for those who work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults. While many people assume that DBS checks only apply to adults, the minimum age at which someone can be asked to apply for a DBS check is 16 years old. So, in what situations are DBS checks for under-18s required?

When Are DBS Checks Required for Under 18s?

Under-18s are subject to the same eligibility requirements as anyone else. If they will be working or volunteering with other under-18s, or working with Vulnerable Adults, chances are they’ll need an Enhanced DBS check. That’s because this sort of work constitutes Regulated Activity, which you can read more about by following the link.

Some roles that involve a high level of trust, but don’t constitute regulated activity with vulnerable groups, are eligible for Standard DBS check. These roles are less common, and it’s even less likely that an under-18 would be practising them. For example, locksmiths, football stewards, legal professionals and finance professionals all require Standard DBS checks. Click here to view a more detailed guide to roles requiring Standard checks.

There are no eligibility requirements for Basic DBS checks, since Basics aren’t a legal requirement for any roles. It’s possible to request Basic checks for under-18’s, but it isn’t necessary, and many employers would opt not to.

DBS Checks for under 18s

DBS Checks For Under 18s – Previous Legislation Changes

It is important to know the history of legislation changes surrounding DBS checks for under 18s. In 2012, the UK Legislation surrounding background checking for under 18s changed:

Pre-2012 Legislation

In the years before 2012, children as young as 13 were able to complete a DBS check, which was necessary for youngsters to work or volunteer with vulnerable people.

This was due to the criminal responsibility age being 10 years old – it’s possible for children to have a criminal record, and for them to be unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

Post-2012 Legislation

This isn’t the case anymore! Although the age of criminal responsibility is still 10, the government made changes in 2012 raising the minimum age that someone can request a DBS check to 16 years old. People under 16 now cannot request a DBS check.

DBS Checks for 16-Year-Olds

Children in England can leave school at 16 (but they must stay in a type of education or formal training such as an apprenticeship or further education until they are 18 years old).

Because of this, they can end up doing part-time work or volunteer in a role that involves working with under 18s or vulnerable adults, meaning they might need to apply for a DBS check. The minimum age for a DBS check is 16 years old.

Sometimes people aged 16 and above are also required to get a DBS check if they are members of a foster care household.

Process for DBS Checks For Under 18s

The process for DBS checks for under 18s is the same as for those over 18. This is also reflected in the price of the check, and how long they will take to complete on average.

Because the majority of under 18s won’t have utility bills in their name and cannot have a mobile phone contract, providing documents can be tricker.

However, there are methods for providing appropriate documents, such as a:

  • Passport or Birth Certificate as a form of ID.
  • Letter from a teacher or principal of a college to process the application.

For a full list of documents which can be used, you can view our guide to documents that can be used to prove your identity for DBS checks.

Summary – DBS Checks for Under 18s

In summary, DBS checks for under 18s are available for all over-16s, subject to the same eligibility requirements as anyone else. Roles involving work with children, those receiving care or healthcare, and work involving handling sensitive data are all eligible for Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. Basic checks can be requested for anyone over 16, for any role.

Do you need DBS checks for under-18s working or volunteering for your organisation? Aaron’s Department offers, affordable, fast-tracked, DBS applications on an error-proof, easy-to-use system. What more could you ask for? Free signup and top-tier customer support? We’ve got those too. Use the buttons below to get started, or forward this page to someone else.

If you’ve any questions, feel free to get in touch at contact@aaronsdepartment.com, or give us a call on 0113 877 0171. We look forward to hearing from you!

About The Author

DBS Checks For Under 18s

John Schofield-Antoncich

John has processed more applications than days he has been alive, and has become the DBS expert. Got a question? He knows the answer!

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