A Guide To DBS Checks for Parent Volunteers
Schools rely on parent volunteers to help out with things like school trips, assisting with classroom activities, and visiting the school to give talks, assemblies, or extra tuition.
Obviously, schools have an important duty to safeguard the wellbeing of the children in their care. Parents that volunteer in the school will come into direct contact with children, so safeguarding policy must be followed in relation to their role within the school.
DBS Checks for school volunteers
All schools in the UK have a safeguarding policy in place. DBS Checks are an important part of safeguarding as they search through an individual’s criminal record for offences that may be relevant to the role.
There are three levels of DBS Check – Basic, Standard, and Enhanced. The highest level, which is an Enhanced DBS Check, is only applicable to certain roles and places of work. If the role is considered to be a ‘regulated activity’, then an Enhanced DBS Check is required. If the role (whether paid or voluntary) takes place in a location that is defined as a ‘limited range of establishments’, then an Enhanced DBS Check is needed.
A school is defined within a ‘limited range of establishments’ and people that work within a school, nursery, or children’s care facility will need to get an Enhanced DBS Check, as long as the role is carried out on a frequent basis.
If an Enhanced DBS Check is applicable, then it will be carried out and will reveal any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, and reprimands that are present on a person’s criminal record. The Enhanced DBS Check also reveals any relevant police notes and intelligence that are stored on local police databases.
A note on regulated activity
If the parent volunteer role is considered to be a regulated activity, then a barred list check will be required alongside the Enhanced DBS Check. The children’s barred list keeps a record of all people in the UK that are banned from working with children due to the nature of past offences.
To be considered a regulated activity, the parent volunteer role must involve direct, unsupervised contact with children on a frequent basis. A frequent basis is defined by the DBS as on three or more occasions within a 30-day period.
Parent volunteers that meet the frequency requirement, but they are not unsupervised or work directly with children, then they won’t need the barred list check. Likewise, if they do work in direct contact with children, but less than three times within a 30-day period.
An example of a parent volunteer role within a school that would be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a barred list check is somebody that helps children with reading in a one-to-one on a frequent basis.
How to get a DBS Check for parent volunteers
The school that a parent volunteer works at will usually request that the individual applies for the correct level of DBS Check. The school will be registered with the DBS and a person will be nominated within the school to check the application and ID documents.
The individual will be requested to fill in the DBS application form and provide ID documents according to the rules of the DBS and regulations of Ofsted, the body that oversees standard in schools.
Summary of DBS Checks for parent volunteers
Any role within a school that involves direct, unsupervised contact with children on a frequent basis will need an Enhanced DBS Check with a children’s barred list check, including voluntary roles.
If the role is infrequent or doesn’t involve unsupervised contact with children, then it may not be considered as a regulated activity, which means that a barred list check won’t be needed.
All of the DBS Check requirements for schools are set out in the Ofsted guidance on safeguarding.
If you want to ask any questions related to DBS Checks for parent volunteers, or anything else related to DBS Checks, then get in touch today.