DBS Checks for Volunteers: What are the Requirements?

Ever looked at requesting DBS checks for volunteers?

DBS checks for volunteers

Aside from the normal eligibility criteria that applicants need to mee to be eligible for a higher level of DBS check, they must also meet the DBS volunteer criteria.

But what exactly are the DBS volunteer criteria? In this blog we’ll examine the key points regarding DBS checks for volunteers, so you can be sure any volunteer you want to check meets the requirements.

What are the main requirements?

There are four main points to consider to confirm whether an applicant meets the DBS definition of a volunteer. If an applicant meets this definition, the DBS application fee is waived.

These requirements are in place to ensure the fee is only waived for genuine volunteer roles. Here are the four main points to consider:

  • The applicant must not be undertaking paid work

The only payment the applicant should receive for the role is approved travel and/or lunch expenses. They should not be receiving any payment for the role itself.

  • They must not be undertaking the role as part of a work placement

Their role should not form part of work experience or any other type of work placement.

  • They must not be working in this role as part of course which requires it

The applicant should not be in this role because a course stipulates it as part of the qualification. For example, an applicant who is required to work in a care setting for a month as part of a social care course would not be classed as a volunteer.

  • They should not be in a trainee position which will lead to a full or part time job

The applicant must not be in a trainee position, even if they aren’t being paid, if the position is a trial which will lead to a paid job.

If you’ve considered these points and can confirm that the above statements do not apply to your applicant, then it’s likely they’ll meet the DBS definition of a volunteer. However, there are also some job-specific requirements to bear in mind.

Requirements applicable to specific roles

There are two more points to consider which are only applicable to certain roles:

  • The applicant must not be a foster carer, or member of a foster carer’s household
  • The applicant must not be a family member acting as backup foster carer

These requirements are for specific positions that are eligible for a DBS check in their own right. However, these roles are classed by the DBS as ineligible for a volunteer status. These points are most relevant to fostering and adoption agencies.

DBS checks for volunteers: A summary

Here are the key steps to follow when determining whether an applicant meets the DBS volunteer criteria:

  • Consider the four main criteria as listed above. If you’re in any doubt about whether an applicant meets them, contact the Disclosure and Barring Service.
  • If you work in fostering or adoption (or a similar sector), consider the sector-specific points.

Any further questions about DBS checks for volunteers, or DBS checking in general? Send us a message here at the Criminal Record and Barring Service or call us on 0800 197 8800.