DO FACE PAINTERS NEED A DBS CHECK? By Jane Harding
Hi everyone, I’m going to talk about something that’s pretty boring today, but it’s really essential as a Face Painter to know about this stuff. Firstly because we work directly with children, but also because you will inevitably get asked by potential clients if you have a current DBS Check and it will benefit you to know how to respond to these requests.
Having previously worked in Children & Young People Services for almost 20 years I have a very good understanding of what the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) is and what is required when working with Children and Vulnerable People. In my old role within Social Care it was essential that I had an Enhanced DBS with Barred List for obvious reasons, but it’s not so clear to everyone, if the same checks are required or even available for Face Painters. Hopefully this blog can help clarify that for you.
Please note: Some of the information I am sharing is from my own knowledge, but I have also cross checked this with the information shared on the Government website for the Disclosure & Barring Service. Here’s the link to the website so you can read and check for any latest updates.
Disclaimer: As with anything where the law is concerned. I will always encourage you to do your own research and contact the relevant professionals and/or government dept. for guidance.
WHAT’S A DBS?
A “DBS” refers to The Disclosure & Barring Service that was formed in 2012, when the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged together. The DBS are an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the home office and their job is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions, preventing unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups Inc. children.
Firstly let me explain about the different types of DBS. Unfortunately it is not as easy as someone asking if you have a current DBS. Because there are different types of DBS and they all have a different level of ‘check’ to them. I am not going to list what they all exactly check for, as this is easily found on the website above and there is really only two types of check that I want to talk about and that are relevant to this topic, those being the ‘Basic Check’ and ‘Enhanced Check with Barred Lists’.
The Types of Checks:
DO YOU NEED A DBS TO BE A FACE PAINTER?
In short the answer is NO. As a Face Painter you will most likely be self employed as a sole trader. Currently, the only DBS Check available for individuals to request on their own behalf is a ‘Basic Check’ and these will not provide the level of check that a potential client would be hoping for. So what does a Basic Check, ‘check’ for?
As explained on the DBS website, ‘A basic check will contain details of convictions and conditional cautions considered to be unspent under the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.’
This means it WILL NOT highlight ‘Spent’ convictions or if someone is on a ‘Barred List’ i.e. sex offenders register. The only check that will currently provide all this information is an Enhanced DBS with Barred List and this can only be requested by an employer. When our clients are asking for a “DBS Check”, it is very likely that they do not have a full understanding of what the DBS is or the different checks available; and so the information they think they are going to get, is that this person has been “checked” and has therefore not had any current or prior convictions in relation to the job they are doing and are not on any barred lists, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is our responsibility to educate people on what it is they are requesting and what the actual law says with regards to this.
The law states that you are only required to have a DBS check if you are working in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. As face painters we do not meet this criteria. Here’s a link to the information on the DBS website explaining this:
WHAT DO YOU SAY IF A COMPANY ASKS IF YOU HAVE A DBS?
This has happened to me on many occasions and following my response, I have never had to get a DBS or lost the job because I told them I haven’t got one. This to me proves that it’s mainly the client thinking that we need one and by asking for that information they can tick a box, rather than knowing what the law states.
I always reply professionally, I acknowledge their request and their reason for asking this, however I then politely explain that by law Face painters are not required to have a DBS check, firstly because we would never be left unattended or have sole care of a child or vulnerable person. I explain that as a sole trader I would only be able to obtain a ‘Basic Check’ and that would not provide them the relevant checks they are hoping for. I explain that only employers can request an Enhanced DBS with Barred Lists. I provide them with the contact details to the DBS so they can contact them directly and clarify that this is what the law states. Every single time I have replied in this way, the client has replied quite quickly that this is absolutely fine and they no longer require it.
WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE AN ENHANCED DBS THROUGH MY OTHER JOB?
This is quite common, as many Face Painters come from a background of working with children in schools or nurseries etc. so may well have the Enhanced Check with Barred Lists. I was certainly one of these people before I left my old job and focussed full time on my face painting business.
It really is down to the individual how you manage this. I am not saying what’s right and what’s wrong. I know some people advertise they have a DBS and/or would reply to clients that ask, that they do have one. It’s certainly the easier option than explaining why Face Painters don’t need one. But my personal feeling on this is that it doesn’t really help our community as a whole and actually only exacerbates the problem of clients thinking that we need one. If they see one Face Painter advertising that they are DBS Checked, it would be very easy to assume that this is expected on some level across the industry. So ultimately I believe it would be most beneficial for everyone in the face painting community to re-educate all those people that ask us if we have a DBS check. It doesn’t take long to share this information with clients; you could literally type up a standard response to copy and paste to them if you are asked. As long as you reply in a professional, polite and informative manner, clients will actually appreciate you sharing your knowledge, at the end of the day it will save them time if they know they don’t need to check for something they don’t need!
And that my friend is basically all you need to know. I could go into explaining the ‘update service’ and exactly what each level of check covers, but that’s all available via the link above and it’s a lot of information that’s not really relevant to us.
I hope this has helped you to understand a little more why we don’t require a DBS, and how you can share this information with clients or anyone else asking you… lets share the knowledge and change people’s expectations for the benefit of everyone.