Getting a DBS Check for Volunteers

Since many volunteering positions require certain safeguarding, it is very common for these roles to require a DBS check for volunteers to allow the individual to work. Whether it be a charity working with vulnerable adults/children, or a support worker, the voluntary position should be treated like any other, and have the correct procedures carried out. 

In this blog, we’re going to take a look at how to get a DBS check for volunteers, which ones they can receive for free, as well as the criteria that must be met to be classified as a volunteer.

What Is A Volunteer?

Before we can go over how to get a DBS check for volunteers, we need to make sure that we are clear on what a volunteer role is officially defined as. 

The Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations describes a volunteer as “any individual engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative”.

DBS Check for Volunteers – Criteria

That isn’t the most reader-friendly explanation from the government there, so we’ll break it down for you.

The individual must meet the following criteria to be classed as a volunteer for a DBS check…

The individual must not be:

  • Receiving any payment for their role (except reimbursements for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses).
  • On a work placement.
  • Benefitting directly from the position the DBS application is being submitted for.
  • In a trainee position that will lead to a full-time job or qualification.
  • Undertaking a course that requires them to do the job role.

It’s important to note that it is not a case of not just meeting one of the criteria points above. Every point must be met to be classified as a volunteer, and if not, the DBS have the right to reject the application.

This means that, for example, a paid employee of a charity is not a volunteer.

DBS Check for volunteers

Do you need to get a DBS Check For Volunteers?

Yes, no matter whether you’re hiring volunteers or paid workers, you have to follow any safeguarding processes that are in place.

DBS Checks For Volunteers – What Level is Needed?

Well, this is solely dependent on the role of the volunteer within the organisation – there are no one-size-fits-all options! 

Basic, Standard, and Enhanced DBS Checks are all available for a volunteer, depending on what roles they will undertake in their positions. If you’d like to find out more about these different checks, and which ones you may be required to check, do can do so by visiting our DBS Eligibility Guide, which we’ve linked here: DBS Eligibility Guide

How Much is a DBS Check For Volunteers?

When getting a DBS check for volunteers, those applying for Standard or Enhanced checks don’t have to pay the government DBS fee. This leaves only the small admin fee charged by the Umbrella Body to be paid!

Have a look at our pricing page, linked here, to see how small those admin fees are, here at Aaron’s Department.

Why Aren’t Basic DBS Checks For Volunteers Free?

You can’t get a free Basic DBS check for volunteers because a Basic DBS check is not a legal requirement for any roles. Because of this, it is essentially a luxury – employers and their volunteers can do without it.

To assist volunteers in upholding legal safeguarding requirements, the government has chosen to waive the fee for legally required checks. As a result, only Standard and Enhanced checks are free for volunteers. 

If an employer needs a Basic DBS check for volunteers, then they will have to pay the DBS fee (£18), as well as an admin fee paid to whichever Umbrella Body they decide to use.

DBS Check for volunteers

How To Apply For a DBS Check For Volunteers 

If you do require a DBS check for your voluntary staff, at Aaron’s Department we offer a fast, reliable online service backed up by our fantastic in-house experts! We have a dedicated sector on our website with much more information about Volunteer DBS Checks that you may find useful. We know that getting the correct check can be daunting, so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below, or give our team a ring on 0113 877 0171 or contact us on we are always happy to help.

Alternatively, if you want to get started right away (and possibly start receiving your results in a matter of hours) just click the button below to register your organisation/company!

Further Reading

For further articles on the DBS and helpful tips on how to make sure applications run smoothly, why not read one of our latest articles,

Understanding Spent Convictions, or Streamlining The Onboarding Process, How Aaron’s Department Can Help.

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