Safeguarding and Volunteers – Do Volunteers Need a DBS Check?

A common misconception about DBS checks is that they essentially restricted to paid employees, and not volunteers. Just because a role you’re applying for is unpaid that means there’s no need to apply for a DBS as a volunteer, right? Sadly that is not true, because due to the sensitive nature of the field of charity work, this means that an Enhanced DBS check would be needed.

An Enhanced DBS check for volunteers is therefore as valid as that of care workersschools and universitiesBasic DBS checks might only be required for a voluntary position if it doesn’t involve working directly with children or vulnerable adults. If the latter is the case, the charity will need to verify the volunteer DBS check application form on the applicant’s behalf, as basic disclosure is only given to individuals who successfully complete a Basic DBS check application.

Safeguarding in the Workplace

The importance of safeguarding cannot be stressed enough in this situation, as a volunteer role may still involve a candidate working with vulnerable adults or children.

Safeguarding is a community responsibility. A responsibility which seeks to protect everybody’s individual rights – whether an adult or a child – to live, learn and work in complete safety. There are procedures in place that an organisation must implement to ensure these people are kept safe and secure. Each organisation may have a different interpretation of what their responsibilities are, and it is likely that one place’s procedures will be different to that of others in the same sector.

Safeguarding does not need to be overcomplicated or time-consuming, but it is vital that employers understand the risks involved, and manage these risks accordingly. Safeguarding in schools and the care sector will have more extensive procedures in place than say, a charity shop.

Safer Volunteering

Creating a safe environment where everyone is valued is a vital part of all safeguarding procedures. It’s also about making sure the organisation is run in a way where harassment, harm, bullying, abuse and neglect are prevented and acted upon proactively. This includes any charity or workplace which involves voluntary work.

A volunteer manager has a responsibility to ensure all aspects of volunteering follow the same protocol as any employer would for their paid employees. The more a manager manages their volunteers, the more their collective work can play a fundamental role in establishing a safe workplace culture.

Safer Recruitment of Volunteers

It’s important to stay safe while job-hunting anyway, but there are three key safeguarding principles for managers to follow when finding and selecting volunteers.

  1. Don’t burden people with too many responsibilities for a low-risk role.
  2. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach for all volunteers.
  3. Review the procedures regularly and ensure they are working well.

Safer recruitment helps discourage people with a potential to cause harm to come into your organisation.

Apply for Volunteer DBS Check

How do I apply for a volunteer DBS check? Just by simply clicking here!

DBS checks for volunteers may vary slightly, in that some volunteers may need to pay for the administration fee of their own online DBS checks, however there will be no fees charged by the DBS itself. It is worth double-checking with your chosen organisation to see what DBS check is required for the role in question.

If any individual applying for a charity isn’t eligible for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check online due to their role not requiring one, a charity can request a Basic DBS check if desired, which will only reveal unspent convictions.

If you have any questions about this, or would like more information, then please get in touch with our team of DBS check experts to see how we can help.

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