What is a DBS certificate and does my nanny need one?

Nanny Network
4 min readMar 15, 2018


Previously known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau), a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) certificate is a record of an individual’s convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings and can also include intelligence held by the police and/or the DBS that relates to that individual and their suitability for a job position.

Why do I need one or should I get one for my nanny?

A DBS check is a record of a person’s criminal convictions and cautions — carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Although not legally required, it is a good idea for those applying to work with children or vulnerable adults (e.g. in teaching or healthcare) — and the information shown is used to ascertain a candidate’s suitability for a particular role.

Should I pay for my nanny to have a DBS certificate?

If you are employing a permanent nanny who does not yet have a DBS certificate at Nanny Network we think it is very important to get one processed immediately so you have it in place before the job starts. Some parents decide to meet in the middle for the cost of the certificate, some like to cover the full cost themselves while other parents require the nanny to purchase themselves.

At Nanny Network we think it is fair that this is made as a request upon offer of a job. Many job seekers do not have the certificate simply because of the cost involved or their previous one has expired. A DBS certificate will give you peace of mind and we recommend both nannies and parents understand how important it is to have one in place.

What type of DBS certificate should a nanny have?

The ‘Enhanced DBS’ check is the type needed for those people working with children.

How can one get a DBS certificate processed?

You cannot simply purchase a DBS check online as an individual. Please be aware of agencies and companies claiming you can. The DBS certificate requires a registered member to verify and process your documents and for the sensitive information to be handled correctly and safely. You can get a DBS check from our partner Babyem

Which documents are necessary to get a certificate?

There are three different document ‘routes’ available to getting a DBS check completed but you will typically need two identity documents and at least one proof of current address. For full information on the three routes, please see here on the Government UK website

As well as information on the identity of the applicant, a full five year history is required to be filled in on the form, and the applicant would also need to provide original copies of their documents to be verified.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a DBS varies depending on which company you use to process your certificate. The certificate through our partner Babyem costs £75

How long does it take to process a certificate ?

It can take anything from two weeks to two months to have a certificate processed but around a month is the average time. It depends on how complicated the address history is, and how busy the local police are. Certain times of year are busier than others such as the start of the new school year is a particularly busy time to get a DBS certificate processed.

Do I need a DBS certificate if I want to register as a nanny with OFSTED?

Part of the requirements by as set out by OFSTED for nannies wishing to be on the voluntary register is to have an up to date DBS certificate in place. Nannies are now required to complete the DBS update service before completing the OFSTED application.

What is the update service?

If you’ve not yet applied for a DBS check, you can register for the update service using your application reference number (the ‘form ref’ on your application form). DBS must receive your application form within 28 days.

If you’ve already applied, you can register for the update service using your DBS certificate number. You must do this within 30 days of the certificate being issued.

Does a certificate cover an applicants overseas history?

The DBS can’t access criminal records held overseas. A DBS check may not provide a complete view of an applicant’s criminal record if they have lived outside the UK.

Most countries have an equivalent police check and so you can ask your nanny to obtain one where possible.

We believe all parent employers should make sure they have access to all the information they need to make safer recruitment decisions.

Originally published at nanny.network on March 15, 2018.