Getting an Enhanced DBS Check For Self Employed Workers

If you need an Enhanced DBS check for a self-employed worker (presumably that’s you, the reader!), you might be wondering where to start. An Enhanced DBS check is a comprehensive criminal background check that is often required for roles that involve working with children or Vulnerable Adults.

However, only organisations can request Enhanced DBS checks, on behalf of their staff, raising an issue for self-employed workers. Here’s what you need to know about how to get an Enhanced DBS check if you’re self-employed.

What is an Enhanced DBS Check?

Firstly, it’s important to understand what an Enhanced DBS check is. An Enhanced DBS check is the highest level of criminal record check available in the UK. It includes details of both spent and unspent convictions, as well as any cautions, reprimands, or warnings that are on record. An Enhanced DBS check also includes information from the police and other government departments that may be relevant to the role being applied for, such as whether the individual is barred from working with vulnerable groups.

Why Might You Need an Enhanced DBS Check?

If you’re self-employed and your work involves working with children or Vulnerable Adults, you may be required to undergo an Enhanced DBS check. Use our quick eligibility guide below to assess whether your role requires one:

Quick Enhanced DBS Eligibility Guide

  • Will you be working with Children? If YES, you likely need an Enhanced DBS check (children workforce).
    • If this work will take place for 4 or more days in any given 30-day period, you are also eligible for a Children’s Barred List check.
  • Will you be working with Vulnerable Adults? If YES, you will likely require an Enhanced DBS check (adult workforce).
    • Will you be providing treatment, care, or managing the finances of Vulnerable Adults, you will also need to request an Adults’ Barred List check.
  • If none of these apply, there’s a good chance you don’t need an Enhanced DBS check in the first place. You can use the government’s DBS Eligibility Tool to establish your eligibility (be aware, this tool isn’t 100% accurate).


  • Children – Anyone under 18.
  • Vulnerable Adults – Put simply, any over-18 who is in receipt of care or healthcare. For a more in-depth definition, visit our guide: What is a Vulnerable Adult?
  • Workforce – When applying for an Enhanced DBS check, you must tell the DBS whether it’s needed in order to work with children, Vulnerable Adults, or both (it is only “neither” in exceptional circumstances). This question is separate from the Barred List.
  • Barred List Check – The Barred Lists are a database containing the profiles of people who are forbidden from working with children and/or Vulnerable Adults. If the role is eligible, it must be requested (at no extra cost). It is a crime to apply to work with a group you are barred from.
Getting an Enhanced DBS Check For Self-Employed Workers

How to Apply for an Enhanced DBS Check If You’re Self-Employed

If you need an Enhanced DBS check as a self-employed person, the process for applying is slightly different from if you were an employee. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Find an Organisation to Carry Out The Check

Since you can’t apply for an Enhanced DBS check for yourself, you’ll have to find an organisation that can. If you are doing contracting work, you should ask the organisation you are contracted by to apply for your Enhanced DBS check on your behalf – they will likely oblige. For example, if you host a club at a school once a week, the school should offer to provide an Enhanced DBS check for you.

If you are self-employed and not working for a wider organisation, then you may be able to ask your industry/sector’s regulatory body for a DBS check, or approach a specialised Umbrella Body that deals in securing DBS checks for people in your line of work.

For example, Nannies and Private Tutors may be able to ask Ofsted to process their Enhanced DBS checks. Another good example is taxi drivers getting their DBS checks via the local council that provides their licences.

Other organisations you can try include trade associations, unions, or your local council.

Step 2: Complete the Application Form

Once you’ve found an organisation, you’ll need to complete the Enhanced DBS application form. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your name, date of birth, and address. You’ll also need to provide details of the work you’ll be doing and the reason you need an Enhanced DBS check.

Step 3: Provide ID Documents

As part of the application process, you’ll need to provide certain ID documents to prove your identity. This might include your passport, driving licence, and proof of address such as a utility bill or bank statement. For more information about the documents you need for a DBS application, we have prepared a guide you can read by clicking here.

Step 4: Pay The Associated Fees

There is a fee for Enhanced DBS checks, which is usually paid by the employer. However, as a self-employed person, you may be asked to pay the fee yourself. The fee varies depending on the type of check you need and the Registered Body being used, but it’s usually around £40-£60.

Step 5: Wait for the Check to be Processed

Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the fee, the Registered Body will process your Enhanced DBS check. This can take several weeks*, so it’s important to allow plenty of time before you need the check. Once the check is complete, you’ll receive a certificate in the post.

*An application taking several weeks to be returned is unlikely, but possible, and it could occur for a few different reasons. For more information on DBS delays, have a look at our blog article: Why is my DBS stuck?

Getting an Enhanced DBS Check For Self-Employed Workers

Summary: Getting an Enhanced DBS Check For Self Employed Workers

Getting an Enhanced DBS check as a self-employed person can be a bit more complicated than if you were an employee, but it’s still a straightforward process. The main challenge is finding an organisation that can facilitate it for you! Unfortunately in this case, Aaron’s Department cannot offer DBS checks for self-employed workers, but think of us if you every need to suggest a provider!

Aaron’s Department offers fast-tracked, affordable, easy to use DBS application platform for employers. Get in touch to find out more at, or call 0113 877 0171.

About The Author

FAQ: Should I Pay For My Own DBS Check?

Matthew Dugdale

Matthew is our go-to when it comes to all things related to Recruitment & DBS checks. His experience and expertise helps make sure that everyone gets the correct level of check.

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