Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

05th September 2018

Can a person go on work experience within a care home environment without a DBS but as long as they’re ‘shadowing’ a member of staff?

Hi Sheila, I have spoken to a Job Centre today whom have said that a person can go on work experience within a care home environment without a DBS but as long as they're 'shadowing' a member of staff. Can you tell me if this is the case please? Surely not, especially with regards to the residents personal care / privacy / dignity?


Dear A,


This is an excellent question and both the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Skills for Care have good advice on their websites. I know that many providers have real concerns because they receive conflicting advice about his particular question so I hope that this information will help.


The critical point is that someone on work experience should not be working unsupervised.


CQC published guidance in 2014 for Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employment programmes entitled “Disclosure and Barring Service checks for work placements in adult social care settings registered with the Care Quality Commission”


The guidance recognises that work experience may be undertaken at short notice and also be for 2 weeks or less.


In the guidance CQC says:


When a DBS check is not undertaken, providers should always ensure that they take the following steps:


  1. The person on work placement is fully supervised throughout their work placement.


  • The provider will ensure adequate supervision arrangements and that the relevant staff are aware of their supervisory responsibilities. It will be expected that the supervisor will have had an appropriate DBS check.


  • The person on work placement must not be left alone with people who use services. In domiciliary care, this means that they should not visit people alone, or be alone in the house of someone who uses the service.


2. The person on work placement does not deliver any aspect of personal care


  • They must only be given tasks (not including personal care) suitable to their level of knowledge, skills and experience. This should be limited to a supporting role.


For all placements providers should take the following steps:


  1. The provider will take due account of their responsibility to respect and involve people who use services


  • The provider will inform people who use services that the person is on a placement and seek their consent to the person’s involvement. This is to ensure that their privacy and dignity is respected and promoted, and takes into account their needs, wishes and preferences.


  • Where the person using the service or their advocate cannot give their consent, then the person on work placement should not observe personal care.


2. The provider must undertake a risk assessment before the work placement


  • The provider must carry out a risk assessment to ensure that the above criteria are met and any other risks are identified and managed. Providers should be able to demonstrate to us that they have assessed the situation and carried out the safeguards they can.


You can read the full guidance here.


Skills for Care also have a very useful document to read entitled “Offering meaningful work experience: A guide for adult social care employer”


You don’t need to do a DBS check for people doing work experience, because they must be supervised at all times. However, many schools, colleges or learning providers may have already asked for the person requesting work experience to declare any issues, and they should pass this on to you. You could discuss the placement in advance with the learning provider to take account of any particular needs of the student and their physical and psychological capacity. If you offer work experience as part of a study programme or trainee-ship, students over the age of 16 may need a DBS check before starting the work experience.


I hope this is helpful.




*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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