West Berkshire Council

Do volunteers require a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check?

The government has published a a safeguarding and DBS factsheet which you should read and check for regular updates. Some of you will already have an established a set of volunteers, whilst others may have received offers of help from new individuals. There are many ways to help, but it is important it is done safely for all involved and you will need to take some basic checks of those that have volunteered to help and to confirm their identities.

Many of the roles that volunteers will carry out in their local communities do not raise safeguarding issues and do not need a DBS check. However, having volunteers DBS checked is a prudent safeguarding step. There is, however, no legal requirement for you to have a DBS check. Regardless of whether you choose to have volunteers DBS checked, you should ensure your group follow simple, practical precautions such as working safely (keeping at a safe distance from those self-isolating), keeping records of money spent and providing shopping receipts to safeguard all involved.

Some of your volunteers may have DBS checks obtained through other roles they undertake and you should ask them if this is the case. Although ordinarily a check for a role with children would not be sufficient for working with adults, groups may consider this is a reasonably safe thing to do, based on the information on the check and the surrounding circumstances. If a previous check applies, you should record that this has been seen.

In addition, you should ask them to confirm their name, date of birth, address and request to see their identification, eg passport or driving licence. You should also ask their volunteers if they have been barred from working with children and vulnerable adults by the DBS. If they have been barred, then you should not allow them to work closely with children or vulnerable adults.