Some volunteer roles will require a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
The DBS is the service that processes all criminal record checks in England and Wales. A DBS check provides information about a person’s criminal history, it used to be called a CRB or Criminal Records Bureau check.
Having a criminal record does NOT mean that a person can’t volunteer. Such decisions will depend on factors like the type of conviction, how recent it was and the kind of volunteering being considered. A volunteer with a criminal record is only required to reveal past convictions for certain roles.
A DBS check can help organisations to decide whether a person is a suitable candidate to volunteer for them, however only certain roles and activities are eligible for checks. DBS checks should not be used simply as a ‘just in case’ box ticking exercise. Doing so is likely to put off potential volunteers and is actually illegal.
The roles that are eligible for checks are those that involve close and unsupervised contact with children or vulnerable adults.
It is important to take time and think through whether or not to carry out a DBS check. Even when a role is eligible for one other ways of managing risk can be found. See the links below for information and guides that can help with this process, or get in touch with Volunteering Kirlkees for advice and guidance.
If you do need to carry out DBS checks they are free, although there will be an administrative charge for smaller organisations. If your organisation conducts more than 100 checks a year it can apply to become a registered body with the DBS, otherwise you can apply through an ‘umbrella body’, such as Kirklees Council and pay an administration fee. Administration costs should not be passed on to volunteers.
- NCVO factsheet on DBS checks
- Helpful flowchart to help you decide if your role with children is eligible
- Gov.uk information on DBS service
- Disclosure & Barring Service presentation
To contact Kirklees Council DBS service email: DBS@kirklees.gov.uk