Do contractors need CRB checks in the UK?

If you are a contractor or work for a contracting company, you may be wondering whether or not you need a CRB check to carry out your work on sites

If you are a contractor or work for a contracting company, you may be wondering whether or not you need a CRB check to carry out your work on sites.

This depends entirely on where and what the sites are, but there are a few key places that do require contract workers to be cleared with the DBS. 

To give you some clarity and help you through the process, here are some guidelines of the most common scenarios the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) has set out:

Hospital and clinic contractors

The kind of work that hospitals and clinics carry out require any sub-contractors to be eligible for CRB checks. There are different levels: basic, standard and enhanced, and it all depends on what your work involves within the hospital or clinic.

If the nature of your role means that you wouldn't be responsible for patients but rather, working on the building facilities, your eligibility for a check will rest on where exactly you're working on in the building.

If you're working in the car park, the grounds, reception area, canteen or office block, you would not need to have a CRB check, because you would not be in any direct contact with patients.

If, however, your work takes you into the wards, a standard CRB check would be the order of the day. The difference between standard and basic DBS checks is that you have to be 'legally eligible' to obtain a standard check. A basic check is, rather, open to anyone who is 16+, regardless of employment status.

School contractors

The nature of your check here, yet again, depends on the nature of your work and where it takes place.

Schools must comply with strict safeguarding measures and all teachers and stuff must have enhanced CRB checks. Therefore, contractors also form part of the safeguarding.

If you're working in an educational institution where pupils are under the age of 18, the following points should be considered:

  • Will the work take place during term or over the holidays?
  • Will the project mean that you will be there more than three times in a 30-day period?

If you are carrying work out at a school, you will be eligible for an enhanced CRB check, so long as your work takes you there more than three times in a 30-day period. You could also be eligible for the check, against the children's barred list. This, of course, depends on the nature of the work and if it would involve unsupervised contact with the children.

If you're unsure, speak with the school secretary to find out what their particular requirements stipulate, just to ensure that you meet them all.

Care homes

If you are a contractor at a care home, be it an electrician doing PAT tests, or a carpet and floor fitter, you must determine how long your team will be working at the home. Care home owners and managers are generally committed to implementing safeguarding measures and CRB checks form part of the commitment. 

If the work you are carrying out is not just a single, one-off job, or you will be working there at least twice during a 30-day period, you will be eligible for a CRB check.

Some important considerations for contractors

If you have a business, you will have to request the CRB check for your employees, if they have work to do at hospitals, schools or care homes, for longer than the DBS stipulates. If you are a sole contractor, then you will need to speak to the institution's management and they will be able to request an enhanced CRB check.

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