Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)

An Enhanced DBS Check (previously CRB check) shows information held on the Police National Computer in relation to an individual, including spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings. When requested, an enhanced certificate will also show whether someone is prevented by law from working with children or vulnerable groups.

Enhanced DBS Checks and Barred List Checks can be completed for those working with the Children’s Workforce or the Adult’s Workforce. There are different legal requirements depending on who the Personal Assistant will be working with.

If the Personal Assistant will be working with children, or if they will be supporting an adult who has children living in or visiting their home, the employer is legally required to run an Enhanced DBS Check and Barred List Check for the Children’s Workforce.

If the Personal Assistant will be supporting an adult it is still strongly recommended that an Enhanced DBS Check and Barred List Check is carried out, providing the nature of the assistance makes the PA eligible for the check. You can check the eligibility by using the following tool: https://www.gov.uk/find-out-dbs-check .


Individual employers are not able to carry out DBS and Barred List Checks themselves, and, therefore, must use one of the Support Providers listed below:

  • Penderels Trust
  • People Plus
  • Compass Disability Service
  • The Rowan Organisation
  • Pay Partners


It is the responsibility of the person engaging an assistant to pay the cost of the DBS check. If the individual receives a Personal Budget or Personal Health Budget, that cost will usually be included in the total budget. If the employer is self-funding the cost of the assistant, they will need to pay for it themselves.

There is no charge for a DBS Check if the assistant is a volunteer.


If a Personal Assistant has a satisfactory DBS certificate issued within the last 3 years, this can be used as sufficient evidence of their DBS status. However, it is recommended and is best practice to run a new DBS check.


The DBS Update Service is an online subscription that allows applicants to keep their DBS certificates up to date and allows employers to view an applicant’s certificate.

An applicant can apply to join the Update Service when they are in the process of getting a DBS Check or within 30 days of a certificate being issued. It costs £13 a year and registrations can be made at: https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service .

As an employer, it is best to check with a prospective assistant whether they are on the DBS Update service before asking them to complete a new application. If they are subscribed to the Update Service, and their existing DBS covers the relevant workforce group (i.e. adults or children), the Support Provider can contact the assistant to seek their permission to access the Update Service.


Whilst some individuals with previous convictions will be unsuitable to employ or take on as a volunteer, others may be safe choices depending on what their convictions are. Your Support Provider will be able to advise you on an individual’s suitability.

An employer is legally required to have a policy on employing ex-offenders, but this can be ‘to refer any concerns about the suitability of an ex-offender becoming an assistant to my Support Provider and to follow their advice.

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