Confused about DBS checks in gyms and leisure centres?
The new year is traditionally a time for reinvention and setting goals for the year ahead – and for lots of people, those goals centre around fitness.
If you run a gym or leisure centre, you’ve probably seen a wave of new memberships this January as people embrace the ‘new year, new me’ ethos.
With that in mind, you may be wondering about DBS Checks. Which employees are eligible? And what sort of check should they have?
This blog explains the ins and outs of DBS checks in gyms and leisure centres.
The different levels of DBS Check
There are three different levels of DBS Check – Basic, Standard and Enhanced.
Basic DBS Checks are available to anyone aged 16 or over – there are no eligibility requirements. Standard and Enhanced Checks, however, each have their own set of criteria that applicants must meet in order to be eligible for one.
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 includes a list of specific roles and professions that are eligible for Standard DBS Checks. The list includes lawyers, accountants, veterinary surgeons and certain professions in the financial sector, among others. It’s unlikely that any employees in a gym or leisure centre would be covered by this list.
Eligibility for Enhanced DBS Checks is a bit more complicated, but as a general rule anybody who regularly works unsupervised with children and/or vulnerable adults will be eligible. So, in some cases, it may be the most appropriate DBS check for an employee in a leisure centre.
DBS Checks in gyms and leisure centres: Who’s eligible?
Most employees in gyms and leisure centres will only be eligible for a Basic DBS Check.
A Basic DBS Check will reveal any unspent convictions and conditional cautions the applicant has, and is a useful way for employers to establish an extra level of trust in their employees and reduce risk for the organisation.
However, if you have employees who teach classes wholly or mainly for children or vulnerable adults, then they’ll qualify for Enhanced DBS Checks. If you’re not sure whether an employee meets the criteria, try using the DBS eligibility tool.
What about lifeguards?
When thinking about DBS checks in gyms and leisure centres, it’s important to carefully consider the role of lifeguards.
Most pools in gyms and leisure centres are regularly used by children and young people, and pool lifeguards play an essential role in keeping them safe.
A lifeguard’s role may involve engaging in regulated activity with children, which would make the lifeguard eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the children’s barred list.
A lifeguard will be engaging in regulated activity if they carry out any of the following activities:
- Teaching, training, instructing, caring for or supervising children, on more than three occasions in a 30-day period, when the lifeguard is not themselves supervised by someone else in regulated activity. This doesn’t need to involve the same children each time.
- Day-to-day management, on a regular basis, of someone who is providing a regulated activity in relation to children. In this case, this would refer to the lifeguard’s manager.
Although lifeguards’ roles vary from centre to centre, their duties will always include:
- Vigilant supervision of all pool users
- Undertaking water rescue
- Spotting hazards and preventing accidents
- Administering first aid when necessary
- Giving water safety advice
As you can see, the core lifeguarding role will clearly meet the criteria for regulated activity if it’s carried out in a centre that is regularly used by children.
The role involves supervising children in the water, so if the lifeguard does this on more than three occasions in a 30-day period they will qualify for an Enhanced DBS Check, irrespective of whether there are other adults present with primary responsibility for the children.
If you have any questions about DBS checks in gyms and leisure centres, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’re always happy to help out.
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Our blogs are advisory in nature and reflect uCheck Limited’s current thinking about best and common practice in the subjects discussed.
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