This year has been quite the rollercoaster; loved ones were struck down by COVID-19, important plans were postponed when the nation went into lockdown and families were separated for months at a time, but as the festive season beckons,  people are hoping they can celebrate Christmas with some semblance of normalcy. 

Naturally, children will be looking forward to visiting Santa in his grotto, albeit a covid-friendly one, but this poses the question – does Santa need a DBS check to spread his Christmas cheer? 

The simple answer is probably not, however, it depends on the level of check in question and the location of the work. 

Generally, Santa does not require an Enhanced DBS check, however, a Basic level check could be requested if he would be working in a garden centre or shopping mall.

To request an Enhanced level check, a person would need to be engaging in regulated activity with children unsupervised or working frequently in a limited range of establishments such as schools or nurseries.

Santa will, of course, have contact with children, but he will not be left unsupervised with the child as a parent or guardian would always be present. Therefore, he would not qualify for an Enhanced DBS check unless Santa would be working in a limited range of establishments on a ‘frequent’ basis. However, as Santa only graces our presence once a year, it is unlikely that he would satisfy the eligibility criteria since the term ‘frequent’ entails working at least once a week for more than 3 days in a 30 day period annually. 

Best practice for organisations hiring a Santa this year would be to request a Basic level check, but if this is something a company chooses to decline, they need to ensure they carefully consider the applicants wishing to be given the role.

What is a Basic Level check?

A Basic level check is a criminal record check that you can request yourself or can be requested by your employer. It is the lowest level check and can be used for any position or purpose and will disclose any convictions which are unspent. 

The unspent convictions will be printed on the result and will provide the following:

  1. the date of the conviction 
  2. the name of the court where the individual appeared in 
  3. the offence committed 
  4. the date of the offence 
  5. the sentence received

Basic level checks do not disclose any convictions which are spent, cautions, fixed penalty notices or allegations.

Please do remember that although Santa is the ‘top man’, his army of elves will be helping him send festive cheer to you and your families in the grotto so do please remember to request a Basic DBS check for the elves and other seasonal staff too.

Tips to ensure your Santa’s grotto is safe this year:

  1. Ensure that you conduct an informal interview to ascertain that the individual is suitable for the role and ensure all references are received prior to the job commencing.
  2. Ensure the individual is aware of the organisation’s safeguarding policies and code of conduct.
  3. To encourage parents and guardians to supervise their children at all times.

 

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please do get in touch and we will be happy to help. Call us today on 0333 777 8575.