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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 10:45 am

Are DBS Checks Free For Volunteers?

For most careers, you will require a DBS check before you start work. Organisations do this to ensure you are a suitable candidate for the role and to get an understanding of any criminal record and a DBS check costs money to apply. However, unpaid roles, such as volunteering, are not the same as a paid position in a company. So are DBS checks free for volunteers? Keep reading to find out.


How Much Is A DBS Check?

Depending on the level of DBS check, organisations or individuals can expect to pay anywhere between £23.00 and £40.00.

  • Basic DBS Check – £23.00
  • Standard DBS Check – £23.00
  • Enhanced DBS Check – £40.00

DBS checks for volunteers are only possible at the Standard or Enhanced Levels. This is because the law does not require Basic DBS checks for regulated activity. Individuals cannot apply for Standard or Enhanced DBS checks, and this responsibility falls on the organisation.

If they are volunteering, they must ensure they meet the correct criteria, and only then will they find the DBS fee waived. However, depending on the service used, there may be a small administration fee to help with running costs.

How To Get A DBS Check

Volunteers can only qualify for a DBS check if they are considered eligible for one. The individual must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Fitting the definition of a volunteer outlined by The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002
  • Doing something that benefits a third-party and not a close relative
  • Receives no compensation except for travel and other approved expenses

The volunteer must also meet the eligibility criteria for engaging in regulated activity (with vulnerable people, including children and the elderly)

A volunteer will not qualify if DBS deems them ineligible. The guidelines for ineligibility are:

  • Direct benefit from the position which the check is submitted
  • Receiving payment except for travel expenses or similar approved factors
  • Are performing in a work-placement capacity
  • Are in the process of completing a course that requires this job role
  • Are working in a trainee capacity that is expected to lead to full-time work

If the volunteer meets these criteria, the organisation can proceed with the Standard or Enhanced DBS check for free, although admin costs could crop up.

Should an organisation apply for a volunteer on their behalf and it turns out that any of these guidelines were not met, the DBS may apply a retroactive fee.


How to Fill In A DBS Check Online Application

Filling in an online DBS check has never been easier, and The Check People can help you do this regardless of the level o0f DBS check. If you are looking to recruit volunteers for regulated activity and need to complete DBS checks before employing them, we can help with any questions or queries.

Online applications are the best way to ensure a DBS check application is completed without mistakes or incorrect information. Any application form submitted with these mistakes risks the organisation and applicant seeing the process delayed or rejected outright.

Summing Up

DBS checks can be free for volunteers depending on what role they take on. As long as the candidate is volunteering for a third party with no benefit for them and not receiving hourly compensation for their time (such as a wage) while also working with in regulated activity, the volunteer will not need to pay a DBS check fee. However, the organisation will need to pay a processing fee.

If you need more information for everything about DBS checks, make sure to browse The Check People Blog to answer any additional questions you might have.


  1. The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 – Gov.UK