DBS Checks for volunteers: Who’s eligible?
It’s important for organisations to make a distinction between volunteers and paid members of staff when applying for DBS Checks. If a volunteer later moves into a paid position, they would need a new, non-volunteer DBS Check.
DBS Checks for volunteers can be either Standard or Enhanced. To be eligible for a Standard or Enhanced Check, volunteers need to meet specific eligibility criteria.
Volunteer DBS Checks: An eligibility checklist
Need to obtain DBS Checks for volunteers, but not sure if an applicant qualifies? Use our handy checklist to decide.
- Do not benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted
- Do not receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)
- Are not on a work placement
- Are not on a course that requires them to do this volunteer role
- Are not in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role or qualification
Volunteer checks: Some eligible roles
Here are some examples of roles that would be eligible for a volunteer DBS Check:
- Adoptive parents
- Scouts or Guides leaders
- Parent helpers in schools or nurseries
These roles are entirely voluntary, unpaid and primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party, so applicants in these roles would qualify for a volunteer DBS.
DBS Checks for volunteers: Some ineligible roles
Here are some examples of roles that would not be eligible for a volunteer DBS Check:
- Foster carers, or members of a foster carer’s household aged 18 or over
- People working on volunteering projects abroad
- Students on work placements as part of their medical/teaching/social work training
Being a foster carer (or a member of a foster carer’s household) is entirely voluntary. However, foster carers usually receive payment for these activities. This means that neither the foster carer or any members of their household are entitled to a volunteer DBS Check.
Volunteer DBS: What level do I need?
DBS Checks for volunteers are only available at the Standard or Enhanced level. Only employers or organisations can request DBS Checks for volunteers – the volunteers themselves cannot apply individually.
The DBS doesn’t charge a fee for a DBS Check for volunteers, as long as the applicant meets the volunteer definition referenced above. However, if your organisation applies for a check through an umbrella body (like us!), there may be a small administration fee to pay. With uCheck, the fee is just £15.20 per volunteer DBS Check.
As Basic Checks aren’t a legal requirement, the DBS doesn’t issue Basic DBS Checks for volunteers free of charge. If you wanted to obtain a Basic DBS Check – for either paid staff or volunteers – the DBS would charge a fee of £18.00.
How does the process compare to other DBS Checks?
Do Volunteer DBS Checks take longer than paid checks?
A DBS for volunteers is processed in exactly the same way as checks for paid employees.
The distinction between volunteers and paid employees is primarily made to determine whether the DBS needs to charge the organisation a processing fee.
If the role in question is completely voluntary and meets the specified definition, then the DBS checking process remains unchanged and the turnaround time won’t be affected.