DBS and contractors (for schools)

We are arriving at the time of year when schools have established plans for works to be carried out on site. This could be small or large construction projects, electrical work or estate maintenance.

It’s important that schools consider the needs of DBS and ensure that all contractors have the correct type of DBS before participating in works on site. There are several reasons for this. First, some schools are open during school holidays for summer play schemes or other groups that use school facilities. Secondly, depending on the type of work performed, there may be work on site which needs to be completed later, which could coincide with terms times. So it’s always best to plan ahead even better to use those contractors on the approved contractors list!

Even when DBS has been carried out, it’s also important that the school issues all of the contractors with the details of a code of conduct detailing what’s expected of them in terms of dress code, language and areas of restricted access.

Let’s take a look at the types of DBS levels and the controls you may need and see how relevant they are to contractors and the work performed.

  • Basic DBS check: this check is available to anyone over the age of 16. Describes in detail the sentences that the applicant has had. Contractors may request these checks from all employees as there are no eligibility requirements.
  • Standard DBS control: this is the next highest level of DBS control. It will describe both the spent and non-spent convictions, as well as any warnings that the applicant has received, on condition that they are not protected by filtering. Eligibility requirements exist to obtain a standard DBS control. The requirements focus on specific job roles, which tend to be positions of trust and authority – for example, lawyers and accountants. In terms of DBS checks for contractors, any employee who works in a hospital and has access to patient departments while performing their work would be eligible for a standard DBS.
  • Enhanced DBS control: this is the highest level of DBS control available. It will describe the same level of information as a standard DBS, but will also include the option for the applicant’s local police to add all the information they consider relevant. If eligible, employers can also request checks against the excluded list of vulnerable children and / or adults as part of this check. These checks are often relevant for contractors who carry out activities in establishments where they can have contact with vulnerable children or adults, such as schools or nursing homes. Employees working in organisations like these could benefit from an advanced DBS check as long as they meet the frequency requirements.

In summary:

  • Ensure all contractors on site have an enhanced DBS prior to any works being carried out the best time to establish this is at the tender of work stage
  • Ensure a contractors code of conduct has been sent to and agreed as well as signed by the contractor again at the tender stage would be a benefit
  • Lastly, if you have any concerns regarding the actions of contractors on site report this to the person involved with safeguarding or directly to the SMT