Disclosure and Barring Service DBS - Volunteers
NOTE: The Disclosure and Barring Service is the mergement of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) departments.
If your interest is based from an organisation role please see this page.
As a volunteer you may be required to apply for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Usually this will be when you are volunteering for an opportunity that requires working with vulnerable people such as children, elderly or the mentally ill. This is government run service that checks whether you have a Criminal Record or are on the DBS Barred List. The DBS barred list holds the names of people that the Disclosure and Barring Service have deemed unfit to work or volunteer with children or adults (There is a separate list for adults and children).
The DBS check is free for volunteers that require it.
What will you need to do?
You will need to fill in a form given to you by the organisation of the volunteering opportunity you are interested in. You will also need to provide original documents confirming your identity. These documents may be different for each person, for example you may or may not have a passport or driving license. There are three routes you can take to send the required documents, these are decribed and kept up-to-date on the DBS website here - DOCUMENTS GUIDE The routes should also be detailed on the Identity Check form provided by the volunteering organisation.
Can I track my DBS check?
You are able to track your DBS check. When you apply for the DBS check you are given a DBS Application Form Reference number You enter this number and your date of birth in the search fields provided at this link - DBS TRACKING
What if there is a mistake on my DBS check?
It is best to get in contact with the DBS directly. Details can be found on their contact page - CONTACT PAGE
Can I reuse an old DBS check?
The DBS certificate that is returned only provides details relevent to the specific reason it was asked for originally. However the organisation may decide that it is still suitable and they will need to ensure your identity is correct.
DBS Update Service:
From the DBS Update Service Applicant Guide: For a small annual subscription of just £13 (free for volunteers) you can have your DBS Certificate kept up-to-date and take it with you from role to role, within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required.
By subscribing to the new service you could save yourself a lot of time and money depending upon how many DBS checks you have needed in the past.
What do I need to consider when asked to declare a criminal record or convictions?
It is important to distinguish the terms conviction and record. There is a guide by the Medway Council that goes into detail on this. Click here to view it.
Links and Downloads
- The main website for the DBS is at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/dbs/
- The government released a leaflet containing information on the major changes for the DBS, you can download it here.
- DBS Update Service Applicant Guide