Do You Need A DBS Check To Work With Animals?

DBS Checks are a vital safeguarding tool in lots of situations – but do you need a DBS Check to work with animals?

Whilst we can’t deny that our furry friends need protecting, working with animals doesn’t qualify you for a DBS Check in itself.

If you work with animals, whether or not you’re eligible for a DBS Check will depend on your role and the setting you work in.

 

DBS Check to work with animals

 

Do you need a DBS Check to work with animals? Therapy animals

 

If you work with therapy animals and work in a care home regularly, you’ll be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check. In this case, ‘regularly’ means at least once a week, or three or more times in a 30-day period. The exception to this would be if you’re also carrying out regulated activity (more about this below).

If you work regularly in hospitals or hospices and have access to patients receiving healthcare, you’ll be eligible for a Standard DBS Check. However, if you work regularly in a registered Children’s Hospital, you’ll instead be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check.

 

Do you need a DBS Check to work with animals? Regulated activity

 

If you work with animals and carry out regulated activity, you’ll be eligible for an Enhanced Check with a check of the relevant barred list.

The term ‘regulated activity’ refers to a specific list of roles and activities that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. Some examples of regulated activity include:

  • Providing healthcare
  • Social work
  • Teaching, training or instructing children

There are different definitions for regulated activity with children and regulated activity with (vulnerable) adults. Correspondingly, there are two barred lists: one contains details of people who have been barred from working with children, and the other with adults.

In the context of working with animals, examples of regulated activity, and the corresponding checks required in these examples, would include:

  • A healthcare professional working alongside a therapy animal – for example, a therapist
    • would require an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the adult’s barred list if working with vulnerable adults
    • would require an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the children’s barred list if working with children
  • Someone who teaches, trains or instructs children alongside animals – for example, a riding instructor
    • would require an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the children’s barred list
  • Someone who works regularly in a school or children’s care home
    • would require an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the children’s barred list

For a detailed list of roles that involve regulated activity, see the DBS workforce guides.

 

Do you need a DBS Check to work with animals? Pet sitters and dog walkers

 

If you’re a pet sitter or dog walker, you may want to have a criminal record check to give your clients extra reassurance of your credibility.

However, these roles aren’t eligible for a higher level DBS Check. Instead, you can have a Basic DBS Check.

This is the only type of DBS Check where individuals can apply for themselves – you can apply online here.

 

Do you need a DBS Check to work with animals? Veterinary surgeons

 

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 contains a list of roles and professions that qualify for a Standard DBS Check.

The list includes veterinary surgeons, who are eligible for a Standard DBS Check on entry into the profession.

 

Do you need a DBS Check to work with animals? Conclusion

 

Working with animals doesn’t automatically require you to receive a DBS Check.

Though many positions require a DBS Check, the nature of your position – and the activity involved – will determine the level of DBS Check you are eligible for.  

If you’re still unsure whether a role is eligible for a DBS Check, contact us today for a helping hand.