DBS checks for volunteers: how and when to get them
If you’re responsible for recruiting volunteers within your organisation, or if you’re a volunteer yourself, you may be wondering about how and when to get DBS checks for volunteers. Not all volunteers are eligible for DBS checks, so it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding them before attempting to apply for one. At uCheck, we’re experts in all things DBS.
What IS a volunteer?
Before we go any further, we need to establish the definition of a volunteer for DBS checking purposes.
The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 defines a volunteer 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’.
To undergo a DBS check, a volunteer must also satisfy the eligibility requirements for a standard or enhanced DBS check. Put simply, this means their volunteer role must involve working with children or vulnerable adults in a regulated activity.
When is a volunteer NOT a volunteer?
In some cases, an individual may be undertaking unpaid work but will not be classed as a volunteer for DBS purposes. Individuals are not classed as volunteers if:
- They’re on a work placement.
- They’re required to undertake the volunteer role as part of a course.
- They’re in a trainee position that will lead to a qualification or full-time work.
- In these cases, the individual will not be eligible for a DBS check.
DBS checks for volunteers – the application process
Volunteers cannot apply for DBS checks themselves – this must be done by the organisation they’re volunteering for.
To apply for DBS checks on behalf of their volunteers, organisations can either register with the DBS or engage the services of an umbrella body like uCheck.
The DBS doesn’t charge a fee for checks on volunteers, but organisations will have to pay a small administration fee if they use an umbrella body.
The organisation will provide the applicant with an application form. The applicant must fill this in and return it with several forms of identification.
When the check is complete, the DBS will issue a certificate to the applicant detailing the results of the check. At uCheck, we typically complete DBS checks within 48 hours.
DBS checks for volunteers – a summary
To be eligible for a DBS check, a volunteer must be undertaking unpaid work for the benefit of an unrelated third party, with no intent to gain anything in return. They must also be working in a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults.
If you want to know more about DBS checks for volunteers, please do get in touch with uCheck to discuss the subject in more detail.