Does Face painters need to provide DBS certificate?

In general, face painters do not need to be DBS checked. They are usually self-employed, and cannot ‘check themselves’! Anyone who does have a DBS check is unlikely to have it from professional face painting activities. The checks are only available to an employer or organisation, which has registered with them and abides by a code of practice due to the nature of the information being requested and held. The categories of employment are strictly limited, and face painting does not fall into them.

If the person or organisation wishes to check on the criminal background of an entertainer, then it is THEIR responsibility to do so, but they will find that they cannot, unless the same performer is employed frequently and repeatedly with the same children or vulnerable adults.

We should always insist that we are NOT left alone with children, a reasonable request as we cannot paint and provide childcare, and without a responsible adult present we cannot be sure that a child has permission to be painted.

Painters who advertise that they are DBS checked (perhaps because they are employed elsewhere in another capacity) are wishing to gain an advantage over those that quite innocently cannot obtain one. If you imagine that just because someone says they are DBS checked on their website, you are going to see their life history before you book them, think again! Also, there is no official expiry date on a DBS check, it could be years old.

It seems that a ‘safety’ bandwagon has been jumped on with perhaps insufficient knowledge of what is involved and without regard for the relevance to our activities just because it sounds reassuring. Face painters are very unlikely to be left alone with children, and we are with any one child for less than 10 minutes, usually very publicly and in the presence of their parent or carer. There is a danger that some face painters are being quite unreasonably denied employment simply because they really are professional face painters, and do not have other unrelated jobs where a DBS check could have been made.

The reassurance that anyone might think that a DBS check will give them is somewhat false. An offender is unlikely to be touting professional skills that have taken years to hone, and that they rely on for an income. There is little better than trusting your own gut instincts regarding the suitability of people to be involved with children’s entertainment, and the official advice is that DBS checks should not be the only thing relied upon in any case.

Equity have formally addressed the issue as many of their members in entertainment (including face painters) have come across difficulties, read more here:

Quick checklist here:

More official information is available here:


Regulated Activity: