Self-declaration doesn't replace the need for a DBS disclosure check for eligible roles, but can provide additional information that a DBS check will not.
Self-declaration can be part of an organisation’s safer recruitment process. It involves requiring an individual to provide information to be used as part of a decision on their suitability for a particular role with children.
It is recommended good practice to use a separate self-declaration form rather than embed self-declaration questions within their overall application form.
We have developed 2 self-declarations forms. One for roles that are eligible for DBS checks and one for roles that are not eligible:
- Self-declaration form – for roles eligible for DBS checks
- Self-declaration form – for roles not eligible for DBS checks
Benefits of self-declaration
The advantages of using self-declaration forms include:
- providing a means to test the openness and honesty of a candidate
- allowing relevant questions about an applicant’s background and experience that don't feature in the DBS process
- facilitating the applicant to sign to confirm a wider range of consents than a DBS application form
- clarifying that consent is given to the organisation taking steps to clarify information arising on a DBS disclosure
- confirming understanding that the organisation may share information with other organisations if this is considered necessary to safeguard children
What you can ask
The DBS information filtering rules introduced in 2013 and updated in Nov 2020, had a significant impact on what information an organisation is legally entitled to ask for about an individual’s criminal history.
You can no longer simply ask for information about ‘any criminal convictions, formal warnings or cautions’ through either the DBS application form or the organisation’s self-declaration form.
The options for self-declaration include:
- for roles that are eligible for DBS disclosure checks, amending self-declaration forms to include or link to the full filtering rules guidance. This is a relatively complex document and references a long list of offences that may confuse as many individuals as it assists.
> Start using the Self-declaration form – for roles eligible for DBS checks
- changing the nature of the questions on the self-declaration to avoid asking for specific criminal conviction information. This still allows organisations to obtain relevant information and secure a range of other consents. It also has a slight amendment of wording to use the self-declaration for anyone coming into contact with children in the course of their role – regardless of whether they qualify for a DBS check or not.
> Start using the Self-declaration form – for roles not eligible for DBS checks
The CPSU worked with several sports bodies and NSPCC staff with expertise in safe recruitment to amend the template self-declarations form in order to reflect the changes. The template can be adapted to suit your organisation.
The CPSU strongly recommends that any individuals eligible for DBS checks should be required to provide a valid disclosure.
See our safer recruitment pages for help and advice on general processes and procedures relating to this topic, as well as more information about records checks.