Do I need a DBS check for my nanny?

Surprisingly the nanny industry is currently unregulated, although there is the Regulation Matters Campaign working on this.  All other formal childcare providers are required to obtain an enhanced DBS certificate (Disclosure and Barring Service) for their employees and it makes sense to do the same with your new nanny. 

The first level of DBS is a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions.  This can be completed online by your nanny and costs around £25.  A nanny can undertake the request themselves in this link, which they can then provide you with.  

standard check shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings. 

An enhanced check will be the same as standard, but also searches the DBS Children’s Barred List or Vulnerable Adults List ensuring that a candidate has not been barred from working in these roles. 

If you are able to take advantage of the Tax-Free Childcare scheme then your nanny will need to register with Ofsted, Scottish Care Inspectorate or Home Childcare Approval Scheme (depending on which part of the UK you are in), which requires an enhanced DBS check. 

If you choose to opt for the enhanced check, you will need to find a company that provide the service (like a nanny agency).  You are not able to request the check yourself.  Do shop around, companies charge between £50 and £120 for the very same service. 

You can accept a certificate that was requested for a previous role but you must: 

  • Check the applicant’s identity matches the details on the certificate 
  • Check the certificate is the right level and type 
  • Check the certificate is in date

To keep up to date with the status of your current nanny’s DBS you can also apply for the DBS update service.