Do I Need A DBS Check To Volunteer In A School?
Do I need a DBS check to volunteer in a school? It’s a good question and the answer is a resounding “It depends.” There are certainly instances when a person will be required to submit themselves for a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. But such is not always the case. In order to determine if you will need a DBS background check to volunteer in a school, you must first determine what type of volunteer you are. Or indeed, if you are considered a volunteer at all.
What Constitutes “Volunteer” Work?
According to the Disclosure and Barring Service, a volunteer is defined as such:
“Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative.” That definition is actually straight from the Police Act 1997 and is what DBS uses to determine whether someone is a volunteer.
The fact that you engage in activity that benefits another and are not being compensated for that activity does not automatically qualify you for volunteer status. DBS will not consider you a genuine volunteer if any of the following criteria apply to your proposed volunteer situation:
- If you stand to benefit directly in some way from the proposed volunteer position
- If you stand to receive payment of any kind (other than as compensation for travel or approved out of pocket expenses)
- If the position is related to work placement in any way
- If the position is required by or related to a course you may be taking
- If the proposed volunteer position is a trainee position intended to lead to full-time employment
Volunteers Who Will Need a DBS Check
If your proposed volunteer position brings you into direct contact with children, the elderly or vulnerable adults, it is safe to assume you will need a DBS check. Certainly, volunteering in a school would seem to qualify. The law is clear on the matter and states you will need to undergo a DBS check if the volunteer position is one:
- Specified in regulations regarding criminal records set out in the Police Act of 1997.
- Listed in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974.
- That involves engaging in “regulated activity” with children or other vulnerable individuals.
In general terms, regulated activity regarding children is defined as:
- Any type of unsupervised teaching, training, supervision or caring for children.
- Unsupervised work in any type of fixed environment which provides an opportunity for contact with children including, of course, schools.
Regulated activity regarding vulnerable adults is generally defined as:
- Providing personal care to the ill, disabled or elderly
- Assisting said individuals with household matters
- Engaging in social work or providing any type of healthcare service
- Assisting a vulnerable adult with the conduct of their personal affairs
- Providing conveyance for said adults to and from important appointments
How Much Does a DBS Check Cost?
Many prospective school volunteers worry the cost of a DBS check will be prohibitive. Their position, after all, is to be an unpaid one. Fortunately, the law has taken this into account. If you are required to undergo a DBS check, you will only be liable for the small administrative fee. And in a bit of more good news, the administrative fees for DBS checks are reduced beginning 1 October, 2019.
Are There Different Types of DBS Checks?
Yes. There are actually four different types of DBS check that may apply in any given situation. They are:
- The Basic Check – The basic check looks for unspent convictions or cautions that may be attached to a person’s record.
- The Standard Check – This is a step up from the basic check in terms of thoroughness. It will show any spent or unspent convictions, as well as any official cautions, reprimands or warnings that may be part of your record.
- The Enhanced Check – The enhanced DBS check involves input from local police and is typically applied to those who will come in direct contact with children (such as classroom volunteers) or vulnerable adults. The enhanced DBS check may only be conducted on an individual if the proposed position is specifically mentioned in both the Police Act of 1997 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act of 1974.
- The Enhanced Check with Barred Lists – This check includes everything associated with the enhanced check. Plus, a further check to see if the individual is listed as barred from performing the position they are applying for.
Save Time and Trouble: Contact The Check People Today
If you are planning to volunteer in a school, you will likely require a DBS check. Contact The Check People today. We are experts at navigating the often complicated DBS process and have helped scores of individuals obtain the DBS check they need. Every member of our team is trained to the highest standards and will provide a friendly and professional service.