A Guide for Social Workers

22nd Mar 2024

Welcome to ‘A Guide for Social Workers’.

social workers

Social workers play a crucial role in society, providing support, advocacy, and assistance to individuals and communities facing various challenges. Providing child protection and mental health services to vulnerable populations in diverse settings can be challenging and sensitive. In these roles, ensuring the safety and well-being of social workers themselves is crucial!


What is a DBS check?

A DBS check is a thorough background check conducted to assess an individual’s criminal record history and other relevant information. It helps employers and organisations make informed decisions about the suitability of individuals for specific roles. Especially those involving contact with vulnerable groups such as children or adults at risk.

A DBS check provides information about an individual’s criminal convictions, cautions, reprimands, and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC), as well as any other relevant information from local police records and barred lists maintained by the DBS.

DBS checks are essential for safeguarding vulnerable populations and maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of social work professionals.


Why are DBS checks important for Social Workers?

As social workers work directly with vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and those experiencing mental health challenges. The DBS checks ensure that social workers do not have any history of behaviour that could pose a risk. By identifying any past criminal convictions, DBS checks help mitigate potential risks and protect vulnerable clients from harm.

Social work is subject to legal and regulatory requirements aimed at safeguarding individuals and upholding professional standards. Many regulatory bodies and employers require social workers to undergo DBS checks as part of their pre-employment screening process or ongoing registration requirements. Compliance with these requirements ensures that social workers meet the necessary standards of conduct and reliability to practice in their field.

Trust is essential in the relationship between social workers and their clients. By undergoing DBS checks, social workers demonstrate their commitment to transparency, accountability, and ethical practice. This helps build trust and confidence among clients, their families, and the wider community, reassuring them that social workers have been thoroughly vetted and are suitable to work in roles involving sensitive and vulnerable individuals.


Different levels of DBS checks

The level of DBS check required for social workers depends on the nature of their role and the level of contact they have with vulnerable individuals. In general, social workers typically require an Enhanced DBS check due to the nature of their work, which often involves close and unsupervised contact with vulnerable populations. Here’s a breakdown of the different levels of DBS checks and when they are typically required for social workers:


  1. Basic DBS checks: This level of check is the least comprehensive and provides information on unspent convictions only. It may be suitable for certain roles within social work where there is minimal contact with vulnerable individuals or where the role does not involve working with children or adults at risk. However, it is not typically sufficient for most social work positions.


  1. Standard DBS checks: This level of check includes information on spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands, and final warnings. It is often required for roles involving regular contact with vulnerable individuals, such as social work roles within schools, residential care settings, or community support services.


  1. Enhanced DBS check: This is the highest level of check and includes all the information covered in a Standard DBS check, as well as any additional relevant information held by local police forces. It is required for roles that involve close and unsupervised contact with vulnerable individuals, including most social workers and the individuals they serve.


 How much does it cost to have a DBS carried out with Cavity?

Standard check -£18.00

Enhanced check - £38.00

Cavity service fee £13.50 + VAT (if more than three applications are being carried out, we will reduce to £12.00 + VAT)

Document verification fee £11.00 + VAT


How to apply for a DBS check

The employer must apply on the applicant's behalf as Social Workers would require an enhanced DBS check.

There are multiple ways you can book with us including our online form, email, telephone, or through our app.

You will need to provide details such as:

  • Applicants full name
  • Email address
  • Telephone
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • Address history for the past 5 years including in the UK and abroad.

You must also provide some documents such as:

  • Driving licence
  • Passport
  • Proof of address

After we have received all the required information, we will then complete the official paper application form. You will receive this for signing along with an invoice. You will need to sign and return back to us for processing. Lastly, we will email you your track and trace number, allowing you to keep track of the process of your DBS.

The partnership between social workers and DBS checks underscores a shared commitment to safety, trust, and integrity within the realm of social work. Through the lens of safeguarding vulnerable populations, DBS checks serve as essential gatekeepers, ensuring that those entrusted with the well-being of others possess the necessary reliability and suitability for their roles.