In December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Hence, the CRB Check is now referred to as the DBS Check. The services and information provided on CRB Checks have not changed, with DBS Checks still enabling employers to make safer recruitment decisions and help prevent unsuitable people working with vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly. So the question you might find yourself asking is what DBS checks do I need for Nursery Staff?


Ofsted undertake checks on a number of people working in different roles within the childcare and children’s social care remits. It is usually considered the Nursery’s responsibility to ensure all staff within the nursery; including contractors, students, volunteers etc are suitable to work with children.

Checks are carried out via the Disclosure and Barring Service which is able to provide information about an individual as to whether or not he or she has a criminal conviction or has been charged with a criminal conviction which has expired.

This information is gathered from a number of sources and collated altogether by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), who will provide the applicant with what is known as a ‘disclosure’.

This disclosure will enable the Nursery or Early Years setting to decide for themselves if an applicant is suitable for employment. Many settings recognize that the DBS disclosure is only part of a suitability decision and nurseries will ensure each individual working with a child goes through a recruitment and induction procedure as well. Nurseries should also ensure that all employees receive continuous support, training and supervision to provide a safe, secure and healthy environment for all children in the nursery.

There are three types of Disclosure and eligibility for each one is underpinned by law. The level of check required is dependent on the exposure and risk associated with the relationship between the individual and the children and / or vulnerable groups.

The DBS disclosure falls into three categories:

  • Standard Disclosure
  • Enhanced Disclosure
  • Enhanced with List Checks

Standard Disclosure

A standard disclosure provides the relevant information about an individual and standard checks contain convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held in England and Wales on the Police National Computer, relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included.

The standard disclosure will also include basic information, for example, date of birth, nationality, address etc.

Enhanced Disclosure

These are for posts that involve a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable groups. An enhanced disclosure will show everything relating to arrests and convictions and any other information that the police or other law enforcement agencies may hold in relation to you.

Enhanced with List Checks

This will check whether someone’s included in the 2 DBS ‘barred lists’ (previously called ISA barred lists) of individuals who are unsuitable for working with children and vulnerable adults. There is also an area within the Enhanced DBS Check process where local police can add any relevant information they may hold about the applicant.

If you are being employed as a nanny, au pair or childminder by a private citizen they have no legal obligation to approach the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for a disclosure. If you are to be employed or are applying for positions where you will be answerable to a private citizen then it is your responsibility to provide them with an up to date DBS check.

DBS checks in the Early Years sector have recently hit the news headlines due to the long delays it is taking to receive the criminal record checks. The Nursery HR People have partnered with DDC who provide clients with an online DBS check facility. By processing the check online it will significantly reduce the turnaround time in processing applications and make any applications much simpler. Please look at our website for further details under the Partner Page.

For up to date information on DBS checks and guidance for employers please click on the following link:-

In addition to ensuring all DBS checks are completed for staff you are required to issue all staff with a fully compliant employment contract. This is a mandatory requirement and must be complied with. To find out more how we can help you with employment contracts please click here.

I hope that this article has been helpful to you and clarified the position around DBS checks.

Sara Smith


The Nursery HR People

01509 833 121