DBS / CRB Checks for Childrens Entertainers
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
Any employment that involves the caring for, supervising or being in charge of children or adults require an enhanced DBS check (previously called an enhanced CRB check). Visits by an entertainer who has not entered into a contract of ’employment’ but has entered into a contract to ‘provide a service’ do not qualify as a contract of employment, and our entertainers are never in supervisory role with children whilst being unsupervised themselves,
No organisation can ask for a DBS check unless they are offering a contract of employment/volunteering for a position that *specifically* involves “regulated activity”. Legally it is an offence to ask for a DBS check when this is not the case, as it represents a breach of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. As our entertainers are not performing services defined as “regulated activities” it would be unlawful for us to request personal information disclosure from the DBS.
Ofsted states that ”DBS checks are not required for visitors. Visitors do not have unsupervised access to children”.
“The key test is ‘frequent’ or ‘intensive’ contact with learners. The definition of ‘frequent’ and ‘intensive’ was clarified in December 2009 by Sir Roger Singleton and the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families”.
That definition is shown below…
“The frequent contact test should be met if the work with children takes place once a week or more. The intensive contact test should be met if the work takes place on 4 days in one month or more or overnight. Individuals who go into different schools or similar settings to work with different groups of children should not be required to register unless their contact with the same children is frequent or intensive”.
The most important criteria is whether or not such a visitor meets the “frequently or intensively” condition.
This is best defined as…
- Frequently or intensively means carried out by the same person frequently (on a weekly basis or more often)
- On four or more consecutive days in a thirty day period.
- Overnight (between 2am and 6am in some cases) where there is opportunity for face-to-face contact.
Entertainers would not usually be visiting four consecutive days in a thirty day period, although the chance of long term contracts are possible, this has never been the case so far.
Who can ask for a DBS check
For an organisation to ask for a check, that organisation would need to be offering a contract of employment, and would also be required by law to explain how the entertainers visit qualifies as regulated activity. By definition the organisation would be unable to do this for the reasons set out prior.
If an organisation made presentation of a DBS check a condition of entering the school to provide services as previously contracted (made in writing or verbally), that organisation would be acting in breach of the rehabilitation of offenders legislation and employment rights. If you did not make disclosure a condition of the contract – and in practice you cannot – then you cannot ask a visitor for disclosure when they arrive.
For this reason, whether or not the entertainer has a disclosure, they will not have to show it on request when visiting a school as an entertainer. Extended contracts such as many days or weeks of workshops, might be a different case.
If you are the person being checked – i.e you are ‘the applicant’ – the employer will give you a form to fill in and return to them along with documents proving your identity. Individuals and the self employed are not allowed to perform DBS check upon themselves.
A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate at the time the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if they think a new check is needed. Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on a potential employee’s certificate.
According to Ofsted, the Government, and the DBS, a check is not required for a single visit involving a supervised performance.
A minority of schools have been caught up in misunderstandings of official advice with regard to DBS/CRB checks for visiting entertainers (contractors). This arises from a misunderstanding of the distinction between regular staff and occasional visitors and contractors providing a service.
An entertainer coming to perform a show/provide a service is not be required to provide a DBS check as they will not have ‘unsupervised access’ to children. Contact is neither ‘frequent or intensive’.
The situation would only be different if the entertainer is working for more than four days in one month in the same place with the same children.
It is the responsibility of schools and organisations to have a full and thorough understanding of the legal position. The Department for Education, the Government, DBS, and Ofsted all have very clear advice on this subject on their respective websites.
The DBS do *not* require visitors to have a check.
The following is taken from the DBS document Keeping Children Safe in Education – April 2014 [link] – Page 26.
Contractors 85. Schools and colleges should have arrangements in place with contractors to make sure that the contractor, or any employee of the contractor, working at the school or college has been subject to the appropriate level of DBS check, if any such check is required (for example because the contractor is carrying out teaching or providing some type of care for or supervision of children regularly).
Entertainers are not school staff, but they are freelance workers with the same status as a ‘visitor’. They do not have unsupervised access to children, and the “Frequent Contact Test” is not satisfied, meaning that entertainers are not needed to either have or produce a DBS check. Furthermore it would be unlawful of the school or organisation to demand one.
Ofsted do *not* require visitors or contractors who do not have “unsupervised access to children” to provide DBS checks.
The following is taken from the Ofsted document Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education – 2006 [link] – Page 41.
Is a CRB Disclosure necessary for everyone that visits or works in a school or FE college? 4.23. It is not necessary to obtain a CRB Disclosure for visitors who will only have contact with children on an ad hoc or irregular basis for short periods of time, or secondary pupils undertaking voluntary work or work experience in other schools. However, it is good practice to ensure that visitors sign in and out, and are escorted whilst on the premises by a member of staff or appropriately vetted volunteer.
Conditions of Booking the services of Treasure Box Parties
It is an absolute condition of booking any of our services that our entertainers are not left in sole charge charge of children or any other vulnerable person as defined by law. Due to this, at no point do our entertainers have unsupervised access to children or other vulnerable people.