A Guide to DBS Checks for Volunteers
If you are about to start volunteering for an organisation, thinking about doing so, or you work for an organisation that enlists the help of volunteers, you need to understand the rules and regulations surrounding DBS Checks for volunteers.
DBS Checks are a criminal background check that reveals details of convictions held on the police national computer in the UK. Volunteer DBS Checks are special types of check that are much cheaper than regular ones.
Although some volunteering roles definitely need a DBS Checks, there are many that don’t require one. In this article, we’ll take a look at volunteer DBS Check rules and try to make it clear whether one is needed or not.
Which roles are eligible for a volunteer DBS Check?
Volunteer DBS Checks are reserved for certain types of role.
In the eyes of the law, a ‘volunteer’ is defined as:
“any individual engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out of pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative” – The Police Act 1997
To qualify for either a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, the criteria is mainly roles that involve close, direct contact with vulnerable adults or children. If the role is defined as ‘regulated activity’ then a barred list check will also be required.
What types of roles do not qualify for a volunteer DBS Check?
Volunteers that fit one or more of the following criteria will be exempt from a volunteer DBS Check:
- Benefit from the role in terms of payment or other perks
- Receive any form of payment other than approved expenses, such as travel expenses
- Engaged in an internship or work placement
- Engaged in a course work placement
- Employed as a trainee
The DBS are allowed to ask for a full application fee at a later date if it transpires that the application for a volunteer DBS Check was made in error and one or more of the above criteria was applicable.
Which level of DBS Check is appropriate?
The level of DBS Check depends on the nature of the role. The reduced price Volunteer DBS Checks are only available for Standard and Enhanced DBS Checks and do not cover Basic DBS Checks.
Basic DBS Checks are not covered as they are never a legal requirement for any role.
A volunteer DBS Check is free for the volunteer, but the organisation doing the recruiting may need to pay a small fee to cover administration costs.
How to apply for a volunteer DBS Check
The process of applying for a volunteer DBS Check is pretty much the same as applying for a normal DBS Check. The application form can be filled out on paper or online and the applicant must provide ID documents to prove their identity. When the form is submitted, the organisation must state that it is a volunteer DBS Check so that the full fee is waived.
The DBS Check result takes anywhere between 24 hours and 4 weeks (it is normally much faster online, using a service like ours). A DBS Certificate will be posted out to the applicant once it has been processed.
Summary – Volunteer DBS Checks
In order to get a volunteer DBS Check, the applicant must be in a role that is unpaid and there is no other incentive to do the work other than a desire to help out. To get a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, the role must fit the DBS criteria, such as working with children or vulnerable adults.
To find out more about DBS Checks for volunteers and to clarify the rules, contact one of our expert advisors today.