DBS Checks

If your organisation works with children or vulnerable adults, VAS can help you to get DBS checks on your staff and volunteers.

Disclosure & Barring Service

The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) was formed in 2012, replacing the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The purpose of the DBS is to help employers to make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. This is done through DBS checks on applicants, which reveal details of any relevant convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings the applicant has received.

You may be required to carry out a DBS check on paid and voluntary roles if they involve working with children or vulnerable adults. If your organisation carries out fewer than 100 DBS checks in a year, you will need to get these checks done through an umbrella body. Voluntary Action Swindon is an umbrella body which carries out DBS checks for charities at a discounted rate.

Do I need a DBS check on my staff or volunteers?

DBS checks are required for staff and volunteers involved with your organisation who are over the age of 16 and have direct and unsupervised access to, or work directly with, children or vulnerable adults.

This list gives examples of roles requiring a DBS check, but is not exhaustive: instructors, teachers, coaches, activity leaders, healthcare workers, dental staff, social work staff, child minders, anyone working or volunteering in a school, nursery, children’s home or childcare premises, anyone providing healthcare or personal care, and anyone who assists with the managing of another individual’s affairs or finances.

There are different levels of DBS check (see below). Certain roles will require a higher level of DBS check. Guidance around the eligibility of roles for different levels of DBS checks is available from the Disclosure & Barring Service here.

Your Responsibilities as an Employer

It’s up to you as an employer to request a DBS check for your employees and volunteers. Employees and volunteers can’t do a DBS check on themselves, although they can request a basic disclosure from Disclosure Scotland (you don’t have to be from Scotland to do this).

You can only apply for a DBS check on an employee or volunteer if their role is eligible for one. You must tell the applicant you are carrying out a DBS check on them, and tell them where they can get independent advice. It is a criminal offence to ask for a DBS check on a role that is not eligible for one.

The DBS’s eligibility guidance lists most roles that are eligible for a DBS check. If you aren’t sure whether a role is eligible, you can contact DBS and ask them.

You should only arrange a DBS check on a successful job applicant or volunteer. You can withdraw an offer if the results show anything that would make the applicant unsuitable.

You must have a policy on employing ex-offenders if you carry out DBS checks. You must show the policy to any applicant who requests it.

The time it takes to process a DBS check depends on a number of factors including the level of the check, which police forces need to be involved in the check, and whether the details given for the check are correct. Generally, it can take around 8 weeks to get a DBS check.

Types of DBS Check

There are three types of DBS check:

A DBS check has no official expiry date. Any information included will be accurate on the date and for the particular purpose that the check was carried out. It is up to an employer to decide if and when a new check is needed on their staff and volunteers.

Applicants and employers can use the DBS update service to keep a certificate up to date or carry out checks on a potential employee’s certificate. Employers can accept a previously issued certificate but must check that the applicant’s identity matches the details on the certificate, check that the certificate is of the right level DBS check and type for the role applied for, and check to see if anything has changed since the certificate was issued.

DBS Checks through VAS

If your organisation carries out fewer than 100 DBS checks in a year, you must use an umbrella body. If you carry out more than 100 DBS checks in a year, you can register with DBS directly.

As an umbrella body, Voluntary Action Swindon can carry out Standard and Enhanced DBS checks. We offer a discounted rate to charities. You will need to register with us first. Our current prices are as follows:

  Registered Charity or Voluntary Organisation Other Organisations
Registration (One-Off Fee) £30 £60
Standard or Enhanced Check – Volunteer £12 £24
Standard or Enhanced Check – Employee £56 £68

Here’s what you will need to do:

  1. Register with us by emailing info@vas-swindon.org or calling us on 01793 538398. In the initial meeting, we will discuss which level of DBS check you need for your staff and volunteers and give you the application forms you need.
  2. Give the form to the applicant for them to fill in and return to you, along with documents proving their identity.
  3. Send us the completed application form.
  4. DBS will carry out the check then send a certificate (the results of the check) to the applicant directly. They will not send the certificate to VAS or to you. You will have to ask the applicant to see the certificate.

Further Guidance & Information