DBS checks for charities are quite common, as there are many charitable organisations that are required to put safeguarding measures in place. This is true for those charities that work children and/or vulnerable adults, as DBS checks will be important for ensuring only suitable staff and volunteers are hired.


There can be some confusion around DBS checks for charities which we think needs to be cleared up. The legislation surrounding charities can leave leaders wondering who is eligible for a DBS check and what level they need to apply for. Read on as we break down DBS checks for charities.


Who Needs a DBS Check?

Working out who is eligible for a standard or enhanced DBS check depends on the nature of the charity and the job role in question. The charitable organisation must consider two things when deciding which level of check is most appropriate.


The Nature of the Charity

If the charity works with vulnerable adults or children, this is likely to affect who is eligible for a DBS check within the organisation. Trustees of charities would usually be eligible for an enhanced DBS check. This level of DBS check will give information about spent and unspent convictions, and any cautions or warnings the person has received.


If the charity is concerned with vulnerable adults or children, other employees or volunteers will be eligible for a standard or enhanced DBS check. However, the eligibility of the person in question will be down to the nature of their role, rather than the charity as a whole.


The Nature of the Role

When requesting DBS checks for charities, staff and volunteers eligibility is down to the nature of the role in question. Enhanced DBS checks can only be made on people whose role involves regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults.


Regulated activity is a broad term, but this usually covers those working in close contact with vulnerable groups. For example, if the role involves providing care work or driving a vehicle with passengers from vulnerable groups, this is classed as working in regulated activity.


If an individual isn’t engaging in regulated activity with either vulnerable group, then you would need to check their eligibility under government legislation in relation to the specific role. To confirm if a certain role is eligible for a standard or enhanced DBS check, you should use the DBS Eligibility Checking Tool.


If the Applicant is Ineligible

If the applicant is ineligible for a standard or enhanced DBS check, then a charity can request a basic check on their behalf. 


A basic DBS check can be requested if an applicant isn’t eligible for a higher check and will reveal any unspent convictions they have, usually anything recent or serious.


Does eligibility differ for Volunteer DBS Checks?

The answer to that is no. When finding out which level of check an applicant is eligible for, volunteer status will not be relevant. However, if the applicant meets the requirements of the DBS volunteer check, then the fee for the check is waived. This means all volunteer checks are cheaper than those for paid members of staff. 


You can find out more over on our DBS Checks for Volunteers page.


How to apply for DBS Checks?

Most charities need to work with a DBS umbrella body, such as Care Check, to process DBS checks. You can apply for checks through the registered body for fast processing. With Care Check, the DBS application can be completed online, avoiding any length delays in the post. Once the application has been completed, the Disclosure and Barring Service will look over it.


It’s important that charities requesting DBS checks should also confirm the criminal record checking policies of any regulatory body they are associated with. This ensures you fully comply with any policies that are in place. This is important as there will be existing members of staff and volunteers who may need to renew their DBS certificate.


DBS for Charities Checklist

To avoid any confusion, if you follow the below points you ease through the DBS process.


  • You must consider what your charity is involved in and if this means trustees are eligible for DBS checks.
  • You should examine the role of each employee and volunteer to determine which level of the check they can apply for.
  • Work with a DBS umbrella company, such as Care Check, who can request checks on your behalf.
  • Consult the regulatory body that your charity is associated with to confirm the policies for criminal records checks.

If you still have questions about applying for DBS checks at your charity, get in touch with the Care Check team who will be happy to assist you.