DBS checks - frequently asked questions

Can ISM members undertake a DBS check?

Yes, we provide a DBS Disclosure service for our members. If you are an ISM member and you meet the eligibility criteria set by the UK government, you can apply for a DBS check via the ISM.

How can I apply for a DBS check if I am self-employed?

Under current UK legislation, self-employed individuals cannot apply for a standard or an enhanced level of DBS check (the level usually required for teaching under 18s or vulnerable adults) unless a third party, such as a professional association, requests the check on their behalf.

If you require a standard or enhanced level of DBS check, get in touch with us to find out more and organise your check: [email protected] 020 7221 3499

Self-employed individuals can apply for a Basic Disclosure by themselves but this is the lowest level of DBS check and is not suitable for one-to-one teaching. If you’re an ISM member we can request a Basic Disclosure for you. This service is provided by Disclosure Scotland but is available to ISM members living in all parts of the UK.

How can I apply for a DBS check if I am employed?

If you are employed, your employer will be able to apply for a DBS check for you at whichever level is appropriate.

Does the ISM administer the DBS check application? If not, who does?

No. The ISM requests DBS checks on its members’ behalf, but the check application itself is handled by our DBS Registered Umbrella Body, Due Diligence Checking (DDC) and is then passed to the DBS to be processed.

Am I eligible for an DBS Enhanced Disclosure with Barred List check?

We can organise a DBS Enhanced Disclosure with Barred List check for a member if they teach or their intention is to teach under 18s in the next 4 – 8 working weeks on one occasion or more per week, or for intensive periods of 4 days or more over a 30 day period.

Eligibility tests for a DBS Standard Disclosure or a DBS Enhanced Disclosure without a Barred List check are less stringent.

These checks are available to anyone within the following three categories:

  • a person whose normal duties include caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children
  • a person whose normal duties involve unsupervised contact with children under arrangements made by a responsible person’ (a responsible person would include a parent or teacher)
  • a person working in schools whose work provides opportunities for contact with children

How much does a DBS check cost?

The current fee for a DBS Enhanced Disclosure (with or without Barred List check) is £44 and DDC’s administrative charge is £18 plus VAT. DDC will therefore request payment of £65.60.

The current fee for a DBS Standard Disclosure is £26 and DDC’s administrative charge is £18 plus VAT. DDC will therefore request payment of £47.60

How does the DBS check work?

Once we have requested the DBS check for you, DDC will send you an application pack. You will need to send the completed application form and the requested ID documents off to DDC with the required payment. The check will then be processed through the DBS and your local police force and you will be sent a DBS certificate in the post once your Disclosure has been issued.

The ISM will be notified once your certificate has been issued and we will then update your membership record and Music Directory profile accordingly.

How long does a DBS check take to process?

The whole process takes between 4-8 weeks on average but sometimes it can be a bit quicker (within 2 weeks) depending on the workload and staff resource of your local police force.What is the DBS Update Service?

The DBS Update Service is a service run by the government and can be used if you need a re-usable/transferable Disclosure.

The Update Service is an online subscription service that allows you to keep DBS certificates up-to-date and allows employers to check a certificate online, with your consent. The certificate can be used again when you apply for a position in the same workforce (under 18 or vulnerable adults), where the same type and level of check is required. Benefits of joining the Update Service include:

  • it saves you time and money 
  • you can take your DBS certificate from role to role within the same workforce where the same type and level of check is required 
  • employers can make instant online status checks of DBS certificates linked to your subscription 
  • it enhances safeguarding processes 

You can find out more about the DBS Update Service on the DBS website or by calling the DBS on 0300 0200 190.

How does the DBS Update Service work?

DBS Update Service subscription costs £13 a year and starts from the date your DBS certificate is issued. The £13 fee is payable by debit or credit card only. A direct debit can be set up to ensure your subscription renews automatically every year. DBS will only accept registrations for the DBS Update Service between the date your DBS disclosure is issued and 19 days after the disclosure is issued.

You can subscribe to the DBS Update Service via the DBS website.

What’s the difference between a DBS check and ISM Registered Private Teacher Status?

A DBS check is a criminal records check which all members can undertake if they meet the eligibility criteria as set by the UK government.

You can apply for ISM Registered Private Teacher status (ISM RPT) if you regularly teach under 18s and have been teaching privately for six months or more.

Having ISM Registered Private Teacher status demonstrates to current and potential pupils and their parents that you have been reference checked and DBS checked by your professional body and that you have signed up to our Safeguarding & Child Protection Policy, Code of Practice and procedures.

The DBS Check is part of the application procedure to obtain the status but not the only part – an ISM application form needs to be completed first which can be downloaded from our dedicated page for ISM Registered Private Teacher status, where you can also find further information.