A Guide To DBS Checks for Charities
People who are employed by or volunteer for charities often work with vulnerable adults or children as part of their duties. For this reason, safeguarding principles should be applied to ensure that vulnerable groups don’t come to harm.
A requirement of most safeguarding policies is that people get a DBS Check done to make sure that they don’t pose a risk to vulnerable people based on past criminal convictions.
If you run a charity or you are applying to work or volunteer with one, then this guide to DBS Checks for charities is for you.
Charity DBS Checks – Who is eligible?
The eligibility criteria for a DBS Check depends on the type and nature of the role and the level of check required.
A Basic DBS Check can be applied for by any individual aged 16 years or over, but a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check must meet certain eligibility criteria and requires verification before being submitted to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
The type of charity
The type or nature of the charity will have a bearing on the level of DBS Check that is required. For instance, if the charity is one that is set up to support children or vulnerable adults, then the trustees and employees of the charity would most likely need to get either a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check.
A Standard DBS Check reveals spent and unspent convictions, warnings, reprimands, and cautions. An Enhanced DBS Check reveals the same as a Standard DBS Check, as well as any relevant police notes that are kept on file.
The type of role
Charity workers and volunteers work in a variety of different roles. Some will require DBS Checks and some won’t, and the level of DBS Check that should be applied for will depend on the specific duties and tasks involved in the role.
For instance, if the role includes duties that are defined by the DBS as ‘regulated activities’, which refers to activities that involve working in direct contact with children or vulnerable adults on a frequent basis, then an Enhanced DBS Check will be required.
If the role is not a regulated activity, but still involves working with children or vulnerable adults, or has a high degree of responsibility such as managing finances for the charity, then a Standard DBS Check may be more appropriate.
What about Basic DBS Checks?
If the role is not eligible for either a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, then a Basic DBS Check can be applied for instead. A Basic DBS Check can be applied for by any individual and the application doesn’t need to be verified by a third party, such as an employer or a DBS registered body.
A Basic DBS Check reveals only unspent conviction and conditional cautions.
All DBS Checks are issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) in England and Wales or Disclosure Scotland for applicants based in Scotland.
How do volunteer DBS Checks work?
The eligibility criteria for volunteers is exactly the same as that for paid employees and the levels of check are identical. The main difference with a volunteer DBS Check however, is that there is no fee for the applicant to pay, as long as the role meets the requirements for a volunteer check.
How does the DBS Check process work for charities?
The above details set out what types of roles are eligible for the different levels of DBS Check. The next step is to find out exactly how to apply for them.
Most charities will register with a DBS umbrella body such as DBSchecks.org.uk who will help to process the checks accurately and quickly.
Our online application service makes it really easy for applicants to fill in their details, make sure that there are no omissions or mistakes, and get it sent to the DBS for processing. You don’t need to wait too long as there is no postal service involved. You will usually get the result within 48 hours and the certificate will follow in the post within two weeks.
The charity needs to make sure that they handle all the DBS data that they receive in a secure and confidential way.
Summary of DBS Checks for Charities
Many charities are obligated to get DBS Checks done for their employees and volunteers, especially if the roles involve working with children and vulnerable adults.
The trustees of the charity are responsible for making sure that safeguarding regulations are met and that the correct criminal background checks are applied for.
Our DBS umbrella body, DBSchecks.org.uk can help charities to get the correct checks done and help to streamline the application process.
Find out how we can help with DBS Checks for charities by contacting one of our expert advisors today.