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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 1:56 pm

I’m Self-Employed: Do I Need A DBS Check?

There are many jobs that require a DBS check. These include anyone working in hospitals, care homes, or schools, but also those in the finance or transport industry. If you’re self-employed, you might not think you need a DBS check. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, clients or customers will require you to apply for and gain for a DBS check before they agree to take on their business. Today, we will answer the question I’m self-employed: do I need a DBS check?

Why Do I Need a DBS Check If I’m Self-Employed?

While most self-employed jobs will not require a DBS check, this is not true of all of them. Often, potential clients will request a DBS check before you work for them. This depends on the service you offer.

For example, if you are a self-employed freelance writer or artist, the chances of you needing a DBS check are slim to none. But as these are not the only types of self-employment available, there will be other situations where a DBS check is necessary.

These jobs can include self-employed carers, or pest-control workers or construction workers. These checks are required if the client you are working for deals with children or vulnerable adults or have policies against employing those with unspent criminal convictions.

dbs check for self employed

Can Anyone Apply for a DBS Check?

Yes, anyone can apply for a DBS check. However, individuals can only apply for a Basic DBS check. You can do this online and it is usually checked and returned with you within four weeks. An individual cannot apply for the upper level DBS checks such as Standard or Enhanced.

If the client requires either of these checks, you need to get in touch with them to carry out the application for you. Most of the time, organisations are more than willing to complete these checks for you, including the required payment, but you may want to sweeten the deal by offering to pay the costs yourself.

If both you or the organisation are unwilling to pay the cost, but you are part of a union or work for an umbrella company after registering to be self-employed, you can get in touch with them and see if they can cover the costs for you.

Why Can’t I Apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check?

Even though the Basic DBS Check might be suitable for most companies, especially those that understand the restrictions for individuals applying for one, Standard and Enhanced checks are much different.

They design these checks to allow employers to dive deep into any criminal records you may have or currently hold. It helps recruiters understand the person they are hiring and whether it could put the business, their employees or their customers at risk. Because of this disclosure, it isn’t possible for an individual to carry checks out by themselves as you are unable to ask yourself any questions that may come up following specific flags on your record.

What If I Can’t Get a DBS

While DBS checks are relatively easy to get, sometimes, this is not always possible. Examples of this include working at private functions such as if you are a childrens’ entertainer. In instances such as this, those hiring you may not require a full DBS check, but you must still take measures to ensure you do not leave yourself culpable.

This means you should not be alone with anyone the law could consider vulnerable during the event. If you are unsure about this, you can speak with the organisers sensitively, that is one that doesn’t seem unusual but instead simply concerned for safety and safeguarding, to ensure you do nothing that could be used against you following the event.

How To Apply for a DBS Check

If you can still apply for a DBS check, then the Basic application is simple enough, and you can find this online. You will need to provide details about your name, date of birth, and addresses covering the past 5 years. You will also need a specific set of documents.

dbs check for self employed

Documents for DBS check

For the Basic DBS Check, you need to supply two documents. These are:

  • One form of ID (valid passport or driving license)
  • One document displaying your proof of address (utility bill, bank or credit card statement, driving license)

However, your driving license can only be used as a proof of address if it shows your current residence and you did not use it for your identification.

If your client needs a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, it requires additional documents. Besides a form of ID, you will also need to provide another form of ID as well as financial or social documents which can include:

  • Credit card statements
  • Utility bill
  • P45 or P60
  • A letter of sponsorship from the potential employer
  • Mortgage statement

Failure to provide these documents can cause your application to be delayed, or in some cases even rejected.

Final Thoughts

For most self-employed situations, a DBS check is not something you need to worry about. However, it’s better to understand that there are times where your clients will require a DBS check before you start working with them. Hopefully, this guide has helped you recognise the best ways to get a DBS check either by yourself or through the client, and if that is not possible for whatever reason, then at least you can do what you can to safeguard yourself and anyone you may come into contact with.


  1. DBS Checks: Guidance for Employers – GOV