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‘Tis the season for goodwill, but have your volunteers been DBS Checked?

With more people looking to get into the spirit of goodwill this Christmas, it’s important to remember that your volunteers may also need to receive a DBS check.

The DBS definition of a volunteer is defined in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 as:

“Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending, 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 qualify for a free-of-charge criminal record check, the applicant must not benefit directly from the position the DBS application is being submitted for. The applicant must not:

  • benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted
  • receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)
  • be on a work placement
  • be on a course that requires them to do this job role
  • be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role/qualification

Over the festive period you may be grateful for a recent uptake of volunteers in your business or charity and many different types of organisations have a need for volunteers such as education/childcare or religious organisations.

It may have crossed your mind to conduct a criminal record check on these new employees, for example if you have volunteers working with children or vulnerable adults it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to safeguarding.

If you have people visiting your organisation over the festive period i.e care homes or charities it will provide peace of mind to know that new volunteers have had criminal clearance.

Volunteers are not automatically eligible for a particular type of check – they must meet the same criteria as a paid member of staff so they could be eligible for a Standard or Enhanced check.

The check they need is dependent on the nature of the work they are doing, if they are left unsupervised and what type of sites they are working on.

Here are some examples of the type of work your volunteer may be doing and what check they may require:

  1. 1.    Education/childcare - Schools - help with nativities and end of year celebrations – i.e. pantomime chaperones

BASIC – if you’re volunteer is attending a school/childcare site and they are on-site for less than 4 days in a 30 day period.

BASIC – if the volunteer is supervising children on a school site however will not be left unsupervised with the child.

STANDARD/ENHANCED – If the volunteer is going to be helping out, supervising children on a school site – unsupervised for at least 4 days in a 30 day period.

  1. 2.    Religious Organisations – i.e. Sunday school helps and same as above

BASIC – if the volunteer is not supervising children for more than 4 days in a 30 day period.

BASIC – if the volunteer is going to be supervised whilst with children at all times (i.e. by another member of staff)

STANDARD/ ENHANCED – if the volunteer is teaching children for more than 4 days in a 30 day period.

  1. 3.    Mental health charities – i.e. Help and support telephone advisors

BASIC – Charity fundraisers who for example collect money in shopping centres would only be eligible for a basic disclosure.

STANDARD/ENHANCED – if the volunteer is offering advice to children or adults face to face or over the phone

STANDARD/ ENHANCED – if the volunteer is Conveying an Adult or child – driving service users to and from appointments/ to events – this also includes passenger assistants.

The volunteer prices for the above checks are as follows:

Standard and Enhanced DBS checks for volunteers are £18.00

Basic checks are £45.49 (Disclosure Scotland do not offer a reduced rate).

If your sector or job role isn’t above and you need more advice about which check you would be eligible for please don’t hesitate to give us a call and speak to one of our friendly advisors!

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