I am self-employed
The fact that you cannot check yourself means that self-employed people can have difficulty obtaining higher level Disclosures. The same can be true for principals of organsiations where there is no "higher authority" who can make the employment decision based on any Disclosure content.
Once you understand that Disclosures are for a 3rd party to verify an individual's response to the question "Do you have any criminal convictions? (Etc.)" you can see that the self employed person already knows the answer to that question, so a Disclosure has no value for its intended purpose.
However that doesn't stop some prospective client organisations asking you to get a Disclosure as a condition of your gaining access to their premises where they have a policy of checking their own employees. There are also situations where having been checked is commercially advantageous for the self-employed.
For higher level Disclosures there must always be a third party who is either offering a role that is exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) or is willing to endorse the subject working in a qualifying role. Further, that 3rd party must have the sanction of denying the role to the subject of the Disclosure, or refusing to endorse their working in that role, if they do not consider it to be satisfactory (within the constraints of the Code of Practice*)
The endorsement element is important for the self-employed as it allows a third party to take on the role of a "regulator" and check people who it does not directly employ, e.g. a care agency can check the carers it places even though they may actually be employed by the individual receiving the care services.
To comply with the rules a self-employed individual needs to find an organisation who is willing to endorse their working in their chosen field and issue a document to that effect. (Should they not be happy with the Disclosure content then their sanction is not to issue their certificate) The document will usually be valid for a finite period (~ 12 months) so as not to expose the issuing organistaion to an open-ended endorsement. At the end of the period another check can be done to ensure that no new incidents have been reported and a new certificate issued for another 12 months.
Such an organisation could be a trade or professional body of which the individual is a member or could join. In many instances such bodies are keen to take this role as it ensures that over time people with an unsuitable history find it more difficult to operate in their industry sector, thereby reudcing the risk of an incident that would inevitably tarnish the whole industry. It also enhances their status as a representative body and often has a positive impact on membership.
[Note - this role is entirely different to that of a CRB Umbrella Body who is simply obtaining the Disclosure on behalf of the 3rd party. The UB does not make any value judgement on Disclosure content (they are generally not qualified to do so) and has no specific industry credence to issue their own certificate.]
As a Registered Umbrella body DDC can contract with the 3rd party to undertake all of the adminstration associated with obtaining the Disclosure leaving them free to issue their endorsement document. A fee can reasonably be charged for this document so from their standpoint the scheme can be self-funding.
We currently run a number of such schemes on behalf of trade/professional organisations and would be pleased to discuss how they work if contacted.
* The Code of Practice requires that users of the Disclosure Service only consider information contained in a Disclosure in the context of the role they are offering and do not unfairly penalise somebody for something that has no relevance to that role.