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By thecheckpeople_admin
Published 1:26 pm

Do I Need a DBS Check If I Want to Volunteer?

Do you plan on volunteering your time or expertise? If your answer is yes, then you may be wondering if DBS check eligibility applies to you. The question “Do I Need a DBS Check If I Want to Volunteer?” often arises here at The Check People and in this article, we’d like to set the record straight.

In this article, we will discuss the ins and outs of DBS checks and provide the information you need so that you know what’s required from volunteers in the UK.

A good place to start is to ascertain that the role you have in mind will, in fact, have a “volunteer” status.


“Volunteer” Defined

According to the UK’s Disclosure and Barring Service, the definition of a volunteer from The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002 is:

“An individual who is engaged in any activity which involves spending unpaid time (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit a third party and not a close relative.”

Keeping this definition in mind, let’s see if you will qualify as a volunteer for the role you would like to participate in.

Do I Qualify for A Volunteer DBS Check?

To qualify for a Volunteer DBS check, an individual MUST NOT:

  • Gain any direct benefit/s from the position for which the DBS check is being processed for
  • Receive any payment (barring travel and approved out-of-pocket expenses)
  • Be there on a work placement
  • Be associated with a course that requires them to partake in this role
  • Be in a trainee position that will lead to a permanent position or qualification

To qualify for a Volunteer DBS check, an individual MUST:

  • Volunteer in a position that includes contact with children
  • Volunteer in a position that includes contact with vulnerable adults
  • Have a role that’s listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975
  • Have a role that’s specified in The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations
  • Have a role that includes regulated activities (this brings us to our next question…)

What Are Regulated Activities?

In short, regulated activities apply to roles that involve working with young people or vulnerable groups. This work is unsupervised and requires a high level of trust. Examples include:

  • Teaching, childminding, coaching, scout leading, foster parenting
  • Caring for the elderly, sick patients, or the disabled (hospital staff)
  • Driving a vehicle with children and/or vulnerable groups

If a person is listed on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) barred list, then they cannot volunteer for these roles. To ensure that a volunteer is not on this list, an enhanced DBS check is required. An enhanced check is the highest level of background screening.


Can I Apply for a Volunteer DBS Check?

Individuals cannot apply for a volunteer DBS check on their own. The check has to be initiated by the organisation or charity that the person wishes to volunteer for. Alternatively, you can contact The Check People and we will help you to navigate the often-complicated DBS process

How Long Does It Take to Process a DBS Online Check for a Volunteer?

In some cases, an enhanced DBS volunteer check takes only 24 hours to be processed and completed. However, most applications are completed within 5 days. This timescale also applies to standard level checks.

To end, we would like to congratulate you on taking the first steps on learning how to volunteer. Your service to our communities is much appreciated! For a smooth-sailing DBS online check, please do contact us, The Check People, for assistance – we would love to be of service.


  1. The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002.,