DBS check online

Staying Safe Online: How DBS Helps Spread a Little Confidence

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Staying Safe Online: How DBS Helps Spread a Little Confidence

When the world of education suddenly turns digital, it’s wise to consider safeguarding and staying safe.

Regardless of the age group you’re working with, it’s prudent for online tutors to apply for the government stamp of approval – the DBS check. This confirms an individual’s criminal history, indicating a fitness to work with children and vulnerable adults.

And while there are no general, formal DBS requirements for working with over 18s, the DBS helps to spread a little assurance that the online experience is as safe as the classroom


The world of DBS can be a little confusing – and applying can feel like too much hassle.

In this article, we’re going to explain what the DBS check is, the different types of checks available, and how to go about applying.

What is the DBS check?

Most people are familiar with the CRB check (the Criminal Records Bureau check).

Well, that was fazed out in 2013 when the Criminal Records Bureau merged with the ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority). 

The merger created the Disclosure and Barring Service – known as the DBS for England and Wales. Scotland has an independent DBS body, known as Disclosure Scotland.

The DBS check – like the CRB check before it – confirms the criminal history of an individual at the date of issue.

However, one of the problems with the DBS process is that it only confirms criminal history up to the date of the check – which immediately defuncts the document for later dates. This means that, when applying for jobs, you might be expected to get a new DBS check for every new position.

The DBS Update Service

That can be a hassle – which is where the DBS Update Service comes in; offering an ongoing subscription that remains valid each time a check is applied.

It’s certainly worth investing in the Update Service if you regularly move from job to job.

The Types of DBS Checks

Not all DBS checks are created equal.

They all use the PNC (Police National Computer) to check Unspent Convictions, but most go further into your criminal record.

The check comes in a range of guises:

  • Basic Disclosure
  • Standard DBS
  • Enhanced DBS
  • Enhanced DBS Checks with List Checks
  • Disclosure Scotland – PVG Scheme

If you’re working in educational environments, most institutions will expect you to have an Enhanced DBS which discloses details of all Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, and Convictions; with a report from the local Police Force, as well as from central records.

If you’re working with children or vulnerable adults, then the Enhanced DBS Check with List Checks is most likely required. Using the same examination criteria used for an Enhanced DBS, this also details whether an individual has been barred from working with adults or children.

The Basic Disclosure confirms any Unspent Convictions, while the Standard DBS also checks for Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, and Convictions.

What do I need to become a tutor with TutorNinjas?

At TutorNinjas, staying safe online is our paramount concern.

While we don’t ask for a DBS, we do give preference to tutors who declare their DBS/CRB status.

Each TutorNinja tutor has a profile which confirms their DBS/CRB status. And, while we don’t insist that every tutor has a valid certificate, parents are entitled to ask the tutor to verify their DBS status during the online “meet and greet”.

In the long run, anyone working in an educational environment should consider getting an appropriate DBS check.

Teaching Under 18s

Anyone hoping to provide tutoring services to under 18s with TutorNinjas is interviewed by our team, allowing us to verify fitness to work with that age group. Our checks take 48 hours.

Anyone applying to be a TutorNinja tutor from outside of the UK needs to submit a government background check; DBS is recognised solely in the UK.

How Do I Apply for a DBS Check?

For most DBS Checks, you need to apply through a listed provider – these are official organisations who have been approved by the government to carry out these confidential checks.

You can apply for a Basic DBS yourself through Gov.uk (the UK government website).

However, you must go through a listed provider (or an umbrella body) to apply for anything more substantial than a Basic DBS.

Use this page on the Disclosure Barring Service website to find a provider who can provide your DBS.

Give Yourself Time

A Standard DBS check generally takes around two weeks, but it can take longer, especially for Enhanced checks. We recommend applying a month before you’re going to need it.

You will have to pay for your check. The price depends on the DBS level and the listed provider who carries out the check. There are loads of organisations that advertise online, so it’s worth shopping around.

Make sure that they’re officially listed and approved, so it’s worth using the government website to find a reputable listed provider.

Keeping Online Safe

The DBS check is one way to assure a student that a tutor is trustworthy. Of course, finding the right tutor is also important. At TutorNinjas, we offer a free 15-minute meeting with the tutor to make sure that everyone is happy to work together. 

This gives another level of assurance that the tutor you choose is going to help you achieve your goals.