Voluntary work is subject to similar restrictions as paid employment when it comes to safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.
Many volunteer positions involve working with vulnerable groups or handling sensitive data and information. For this reason, organisations that take on volunteers need to verify that the voluntary staff they hire are unlikely to pose a threat to others.
To assist with vetting candidates for voluntary roles, the DBS created a special type of check known as a Volunteer DBS Check.
What is a Volunteer DBS Check?
A Volunteer DBS Check takes the exact same form as a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check and reveals the same information.
The only real difference is that a Volunteer DBS Check costs less to undertake, in recognition of the fact that voluntary organisations usually work with smaller budgets than corporations and businesses. Also, volunteers themselves shouldn’t be made to pay a high price for offering their services free of charge.
The Standard DBS Check for volunteers searches the candidate’s criminal record to highlight any spent and unspent convictions, spent warnings, and official reprimands from the police.
An Enhanced DBS Check for volunteers, also reveals any relevant information that is held by the police force and also whether the candidate is on any barred list.
Who Can Get a Volunteer DBS Check?
As the Volunteer DBS Checks are offered at a reduced fee, there is strict criteria to pass in order to qualify for one.
The volunteer candidate must work in a fully-regulated activity, with either children or adults. They must also prove the following:
- Not taking part in a work placement
- Not enrolled on a course that requires voluntary work
- Not working towards a full-time position while volunteering
- Not receiving any payment while in the voluntary role
- Not going to benefit financially from the outcome of the DBS check.
Proof of all the above criteria must be provided when submitting a Volunteer DBS Check application. If they cannot prove all of the above, then the candidate must pay the full price for a DBS check in the same way as a paid employee.
More Information On What Constitutes Voluntary Work
The above criteria clearly sets out the evidence you need to provide to apply for a DBS Check for Volunteers. If you need further clarification, The Police Act 1997 (Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates) (Protection of Vulnerable Adults) Regulations 2002, defines a volunteer as:
“A person who is engaged in any 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.”
Applying For A DBS Check for Volunteers
The person applying for a voluntary role cannot apply directly for a Volunteer DBS Check. The charity, organisation or institution that is hiring volunteers needs to apply for the DBS check on the candidate’s behalf. This applies to both standard and enhanced volunteer DBS checks.
If your organisation recruits volunteers and the role requires a DBS check, you can now apply easily online and get the results within hours.