The subject of a DBS check comes up regularly in entertainer forums alike and although some of us are clued up as to what this is all about, I feel that I need to spread the word to bust the myths about this subject.
What is a DBS check?
You may be more familiar with it’s previous name, CRB (criminal records bureau), the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.
I won’t bore you with all the legislations and dates but if you did want to delve into this, please visit the DBS website.
How can I get a DBS check on my entertainer?
The simplest answer is, you don’t need to.
I have been a self employed children’s entertainer for the last 5 years, and the first thing I researched when I set up my business was how to apply for a CRB check and even then, it wasn’t easy for me to do.
I had one from a previous employer at a school but I could not use that in my new job role so after much reading about it, I never applied for one.
Most entertainers have ‘we are DBS checked’ plastered all over their websites.
But this isn’t helping members of the public with the truth about getting a DBS check.
Firstly, if an entertainer does have one, it is only valid for the day they applied for one..
This doesn’t make them safe.
The DBS check is there for employers to check any future people they wish to recruit on their background, especially working around children.
As entertainers, we are not there to supervise your children.
Why can’t an entertainer just pay to get a DBS check done anyway?
The DBS service have made it so that we, as self employed entertainers, can only apply for a basic check but because we are not supervising children only entertaining, we don not require one by law.
It is illegal for someone who is booking me to ask for one or apply for one for me.
Because as a children’s entertainer, I am not there to look after the children.
I am never left alone with the children and I always require supervision in the room.
I am purely at your party to entertain.
A few years ago, a customer booked me for their party, she asked me for a copy of my CRB check and when I told her I didn’t have one, she slandered my name over social media. That wasn’t my issue however.
My issue was that all the comments and replies she received all said the same thing.
‘Anyone working with children must have a CRB check,’
‘She must have something to hide if she doesn’t have one,’
‘This sounds dodgy to me, don’t book her!’
Luckily, people who knew me including other entertainers, backed me up when I explained that as an entertainer, I could not apply for one.
Needless to say, I refunded the clients deposit back, but it shocked me how many people just did not know the real reason for me not having one.
5 other myths you thought you knew about DBS
- A DJ needs a DBS check – DJ’s are purely there to entertain and not to supervise
- A face painter definitely needs a DBS check as they are always with children – again, face painters are not being left alone with any child and children must be supervised by their parent/guardian.
- It is the law that anyone working with children must be DBS checked – it is not illegal to not have one, it is under the discretion of an employer whether they feel they need to apply for one for the role they are recruiting for.
- A school can apply for one on my behalf – yes, if you are working with children on a regular basis, there is a barred list that schools have that your name can go on if you are working with children for more than a day.
- Anyone can apply for a DBS check for someone else – not at all, the DBS service says it is illegal to ask for one unless you are an employer, or the person is working with childen, or vulnerable adults on a regular basis. If you don’t need a DBS then you cannot apply for one.
There is a mountain of information about this on the DBS website which you can pour through in your own time, but I hope this makes it clearer for parents with their understanding of the law and it shouldn’t affect who you chose to book as an entertainer for your future parties.
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(I am in no way an affiliate or work for the DBS, this post is my own opinion and experience, for a more clearer picture, please visit the DBS website.)