DBS for UK sitters

Hi all,for UK sitters, do most of you have a standard DBS???

Myself and my wife do not and I suspect most don’t, but who knows

We got security checks done when we joined about 4 years ago. None done since. They’re only good for the day and minute the certificates are printed. Reviews and references work for us. 40 plus five star reviews and a few references from people who know us well. If asked, we will supply names and contact details from previous sits. Of course we have asked the previous owners if we could do this. It seems to work so far.
We are now delving into the unknown pool of house sitting in US and Canada. They are far more selective, putting more emphasis on insurance and security checks. So far we are finding it incredibly difficult. It’s not even the travelling, we are already in Panama but there seems to be, somehow, a cultural barrier which we are finding very strange. The only really positive replies have been from other part time wanderers and sailors. However, we will keep trying and hope someone likes us enough to offer us a sit.


Hi @ElsieDownie I’m surprised at your comment about insurance and security checks for Canada. I would have thought that any hesitancy would be related to the pandemic complications that can come from being in another country. Canada has been quite strict with its border measures, in comparison to some countries.

I do think that Canada, as a whole, seems eerily quiet with relatively few sits being posted. Perhaps there’s more hesitancy over travel. I live in Canada and abide by the current advisory to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada. I think many in Canada - homeowners and sitters - are not willing to commit too far in advance these days, again because of the pandemic.

Being Scottish, I imagine you would be welcomed by just about any household in Eastern Canada, as there is so much Gaelic heritage there. If you make your way to Niagara Falls, please let me know and hopefully we’ll be able to meet up.


Hi Snowbird
We sailed to Halifax, Nova Scotia and spent a summer around that area. If I had been 20 years younger I would have emigrated, I loved it so much. Nova Scotia is one of my favourite places in the world.
At some point we will definitely visit Niagara Falls, doesn’t everyone, and we will be sure to look you up.
I get the impression that everyone is being very cautious about oversees sitters which is understandable. They don’t want someone to cancel at the last moment and leave them in the lurch. But there seems to be such an emphasis on security, references and insurance in some of the areas. You are correct, it’s a definite area thing. We haven’t travelled extensively in the middle or west coast so we haven’t met many folk from there so maybe it’s just the way these areas are. I have loads of relations throughout Canada and most Canadians I have met are very liberal minded.
You may be right, it’s just people being over cautious so I’ll just keep trying. My applications are getting longer and longer as I keep thinking of other reassuring things I can write. Next thing it’ll be a book. I think it will just take a couple of sits and we will be “in”.


hI @apresmoiledeluge - We don’t get one and have never been asked. These types of checks go out of date literally instantly. If there was a sit I was desperate to get and having a DBS was a criteria needed then I would be happy to get one once the sit had been confirmed.


Hi @apresmoiledeluge
We have never had these checks and, like @Colin , have never been asked.
We have carried out sittings in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and never encountered a problem.


That’s disappointing to hear about Canada and the US

That’s only what we are experiencing at the moment and I’m sure once we are there in February it will be a lot easier.

Life is full of little challenges but a smile and some grit always beats them.

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I have a UK Advanced DBS. I have two actually, one for my work and one which I took out myself and which is on the UPDATE service so it’s updated annually.

Interesting. Can I ask how much the update costs?
I did a temporary assignment for the Police and had to have an advanced DBS. I think the checks took longer than the assignment :rofl:. I agree that DBS checks have a limited life.

The update service costs £13.00 per year. The crucial factor, however, is that you apply for the update service within (from memory) 14 days of having your DBS clearance.
I also claim tax relief against it in my annual tax return because, like my Trade Union membership, it is an ‘allowable expense’.
In my case it’s been a priceless commodity: on THS, when I have applied for sits where the HOs are teachers or have DBS clearance themselves, I am convinced I have been given preference.
And really, I disagree that the DBS is out of date the day it’s granted: every single teacher/supply teacher/social worker/youth worker etc etc etc in the UK has a DBS at enhanced level: if it was useless, the Trade Unions would be the first to wade in and denounce it.
I take my DBS clearance very seriously and am proud of the fact that I can prove I am trustworthy.

Personally,I think the best proof of trustworthiness are past reviews.

There are a few different level of DBS - The basic one doesn’t even show ‘spent’ convictions so having a clean basic certificate now does not not say that you have never been in trouble,only that you have not been in trouble recently.

My biggest objection to certificates such as these is that they do not prove that someone has never been ‘naughty’ - They only prove that they have never been caught. Hence, they can draw a home owner that is shown a clean one down a rabbit hole of misplaced trust.


Thanks for that LTD. What I love about this forum is that we can all air our different opinions in a civilised manner

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If there were copious examples of HO misplacing their trust in those with UK DBS clearances, I think you could reasonable write what you have. But there are not.
Every member of the Police Force in the UK has a DBS clearance. So clearly, the system is not defunct. It is ‘fit for purpose’.
Just because we, as a society, hear nothing about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t working.
When I visited my mum in her care home, as she had dementia, it was a safety net for me that I had a DBS certificate. The staff knew that I could be trusted.
In recent months, the DBS clearance I have has been invaluable. It has allowed me to undertake a 12 week teaching practice in a nearby school while undertaking a Dyslexia teaching qualification. Without that, I would not have been able to have stepped one foot within the school.
In my local church, I am considered a safe and trusted person to look after the small children in the church kindergarten while the adults attend Sunday mass.
At half term, I will work as a children’s ski instructor in a small Tirolean skischool (I’m a qualified ski instructor) and I know that the DBS clearance adds value to the trust placed in me.
I object to the implication (below) that I would try to do wrong while housesitting, that a DBS Enhanced cert holder would try to get away with something illegal or unsavoury. What next? A thread entitled: ‘Examples where the trust in the UK DBS has been misplaced’?

’ … they do not prove that someone has never been ‘naughty’ - They only prove that they have never been caught. Hence, they can draw a home owner that is shown a clean one down a rabbit hole of misplaced trust.’

I think what Colin is saying is that a DBS is not infallible. Yes, it gives a snapshot but maybe not the full history. A DBS is obviously a very good thing to have however references and reviews should also be taken into account in the context of THS. Well, that’s my interpretation of what Colins post is about. And i do agree.


Hi @apresmoiledeluge, yes both my husband and I have standard DBS checks and we keep them regularly updated so as to keep them current as we appreciate there is no official expiry date on them.

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Elsie, I think you are experiencing a reluctance to accept a sitter that isn’t in the U.S. at the moment. Like elsewhere, at any moment, the border could be closed to visitors.
We have been doing this for 4 years. No one ever asked us about insurance (we don’t have any special insurance). We did state and FBI background check way back when THS was asking for that, but no one has ever mentioned it.
in 2017 we did a sit in Spain, applied for when we were there already. The HO told us that if we had not been in the country, she wouldn’t have considered us. And that was Pre Covid.
We have plane tickets to France in early April. Plane to spend 6 months between EU and UK. Once we arrive, we will seek out pet sit opportunities. Wouldn’t even want to commit to a sit in the event we couldn’t get there due to Covid.
I think once you arrive in the U.S. you will find opportunities. We just did October, 4 back to back sits between Seattle and San Francisco with only two nights in hotels.
The challenge is the U.S. geography, long distances. Not like U.K.
Good luck.

My apologies, In no way was I implying anything towards you personally and was giving my thoughts generally.

Unfortunately, I don’t think it would take too long to find examples in the UK where the trust in DBS has been misplaced

Exactly Colin. As an ex police officer I knew of so many people who got away with crimes