DBS Checks for Charities & Volunteers

DBS checks for charities are often necessary due to the sensitive nature of the sector.


You will need to learn about DBS checks if you’re considering volunteering or are part of an organisation that recruits volunteers.

Whether you work on the recruitment team for a charity, or are an individual applying for a voluntary position, you may be wondering what the process is for background checks. In this sector, DBS checks are especially crucial as a safeguarding measure for those charities working with children or other vulnerable groups.

Do Volunteers Need Online DBS Checks?

Volunteers may require either a basic, standard or an enhanced DBS check before they can embark on their voluntary position. Basic DBS checks may be accepted for voluntary positions however it is dependant on the role as to whether a higher level of check is required.

If a volunteer will be working directly with children or any other vulnerable group, they will need an enhanced DBS check. The charity will, therefore, need to verify the volunteer DBS check application form on behalf of the volunteer, as only basic DBS checks are available for individual applications.

Do Charity Staff Need Online DBS Checks?

Charity staff may also need online DBS checks depending on the scope of their work. If their role involves direct contact with vulnerable adults or children, an enhanced DBS check is usually required. This could include even those employees with more limited contact, such as the driver of a children’s bus. Any charity trustees may also need to apply for a DBS check online, depending on the nature of the charity.

How Much is a DBS Check for Charities?

Volunteers may need to pay for the administration fee of their own online DBS checks, however the DBS will not charge a fee. If you are applying to work for a charity in a paid capacity, you may need to pay for your own DBS check. There is also no DBS fee for the charity getting the volunteer DBS checks done. Organisations will just need to pay a small administration fee under their chosen umbrella company.

What Information Does an Enhanced DBS Check for Volunteers Disclose?

The enhanced DBS check application will reveal any spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands on an individual’s record. Charities can also find out whether the applicant is on any barred lists for working with children or vulnerable adults.

What about those Staff and Volunteers Not Working Directly with any Vulnerable People?

If an individual applying for a charity is not eligible for a standard DBS check or enhanced DBS check as their role doesn’t require it, a charity can ask them to get a basic DBS check done if they choose. This will reveal only any unspent convictions.

Not sure which type of DBS check you need or confused about the application process? If you have any questions or would like more information, you can get in touch with our team of friendly DBS check experts!

Enhanced DBS Check for £69.80
Single application only. Results available within 5 - 10 days*

Which Voluntary Roles Require a Volunteer DBS Check?

Before an application is submitted, you need to check whether you fulfil the criteria of a volunteer and are actually eligible for DBS check for a volunteer:

  • Your voluntary role should align with the meaning of a volunteer as defined by The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations, which is ‘any individual engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative’.
  • To be eligible for a DBS check for a volunteer, your time volunteering should involve working with either children or vulnerable adults.

Which Roles do not Require an Online DBS Check for Volunteers?

  • You will not qualify for a DBS check for a volunteer if you receive any payments or benefits for the position (except for any travel expenses or other approved expenses incurred for the role).
  • Even if you don’t receive payment for a role, you won’t be eligible for a DBS check for volunteers if your position is part of a work placement or official course.

If you’re unsure about which type of DBS check for volunteers you require, we’d be happy to help talk you through the process. Get in touch with our team of friendly online DBS check experts today.

Enhanced DBS Check for £69.80
Single application only. Results available within 5 - 10 days*

*The turnaround times given are the average times taken for completion of the application. The time it takes can vary depending on local police searches, multiple addresses, common names and multiple name changes.