Home > Becoming a Volunteer > Essential Checks Before Volunteering - Police & DBS

Essential Checks Before Volunteering - Police & DBS

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 13 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Crb Checks Volunteering Background

If you are going to be volunteering to work with children or supporting ‘vulnerable’ adults in particular the organisation you are looking to offer your services to may very well need to carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on you. Commonly referred to as a ‘DBS check’, it is undertaken to ensure that you do not have any impediments or previous convictions that would make you unsuitable for working alongside children or vulnerable adults which could put them at risk. It’s also carried out for your own safety as well as the safety of those with whom you’ll be working alongside. Even if you know that there is no reason for you to be concerned about a check being carried out on you as you have no previous convictions, the organisation may still have to undertake one on you anyway by law. However, to do so, they do need to obtain your permission first and, once granted, you’ll be required to provide various pieces of supporting evidence such as a passport or driving license.

Prospective volunteers should not be deterred from applying for voluntary positions where a DBS check is required. It is, after all, mandatory for certain voluntary roles and even if you have a criminal record, this may not exclude you from volunteering. In fact, many people with past criminal convictions often make some of the best volunteers and organisations are keen to attract ex-offenders as they can often shed light and offer unrivalled support to those in need, simply as the result of having gone through difficult and challenging experiences themselves.

For Those with a Criminal Conviction

If you’re not going to be working as a volunteer with children or vulnerable adults, then the only information which will be revealed as the result of a DBS check will be any convictions still deemed to be ‘unspent’. Depending on the nature of your conviction, this might have no bearing whatsoever on your ability to become a valuable and productive volunteer so, even those with unspent convictions on their record might still have a very good chance to be accepted onto a voluntary program. However, if you do intend to work with children or vulnerable adults, the extent of the DBS check will be extended to incorporate ‘spent’ convictions too in addition to any which are unspent. The law does recognise that ex-offenders still deserve an equal opportunity to serve as a volunteer as much as other members of the public. However, your suitability for any particular voluntary job will have to be weighed up in terms of the nature of your offence, whether it is classed as a ‘spent’ or ‘unspent’ conviction, how long ago the offence was committed and whether or not the organisation feels that the conviction would have any bearing on your ability to become an effective and productive volunteer without putting anyone at risk.

How Are ‘Spent ‘And ‘Unspent’ Convictions Determined?

A conviction is deemed as ‘spent’ following a specified period of rehabilitation. Even some custodial sentences can become spent. However, any custodial sentences greater than two and a half years can never become ‘spent’. For more information about this, you should visit the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) website.

What Exactly Is The DBS And What Is Meant By ‘Disclosures’?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to give it its full title, was set up on the back of Part V of the Police Act of 1997. It basically provides a greater public access to information about criminal records and enables companies and organisations in the private, public and voluntary sectors to make recruitment decisions more securely by identifying those individuals who may not be suitable for specific types of work, either paid or voluntary, through its disclosure service.

Disclosure

There are three main types of disclosure. A standard disclosure is usually used for those who are looking to get involved working in some capacity in the proximity of children, young people and vulnerable adults and can also be sought by others where you may be working in other sensitive areas or where there are issues of safety and security involved. A standard enclosure will reveal both current and spent convictions alongside any reprimands or cautions which are held on the police national computer and, if the post involves working alongside children, DBS checks will also extend to any information held by the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). An enhanced disclosure is an even more thorough check and is used for those who are seeking either paid or voluntary work with children or vulnerable adults in which they will have direct contact with those who could be at risk. Issues such as a role which calls upon you to be in sole charge or regularly caring for or training or supervising vulnerable adults and children will usually be asked to have an enhanced disclosure carried out on them before being offered a position of this kind. It will use the same procedures for gathering the information as a standard disclosure but will also include any additional and relevant information held by local police forces. Lastly, the enhanced with checks disclosure is like the enhanced check, but includes a check of the DBS barred lists(previously called ISA barred lists) of individuals who are unsuitable for working with children and vulnerable adults and takes about four weeks.

If you are unsure about DBS checks, speak to the organisation first before submitting an application as it may not be productive to apply if you’re going to fail a DBS check. However, rest assured that even if you have criminal convictions, you should not be put off from applying for voluntary work as charities and other voluntary organisations will actively look to recruit people from all backgrounds, including those with criminal convictions as they understand the dynamic of having volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds and even those with a criminal record can, in many cases, offer a level of support to voluntary organisations that is so sought after in terms of having personal experiences which have given them so many positive qualities often as a result of past criminal activity from which they have learned to become a more positive and productive person with so much to offer.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi Irecentlyreceived apolicecaution and Iwant todovoluntaryworkinvolving publicspeaking. Any advice?
Daisy - 13-Mar-17 @ 1:27 PM
If someone has a criminal record for stealing money from a vulnerable adult can that person work as a volunteer in a charity shop
Ness - 29-Jul-16 @ 1:39 PM
TatNola - Your Question:
I am on JSA and housing benefits and I am offered for temporary job 4 weeks which will be paid. Should I accept this offer because after contract end I have to get back to my JSA and housing benefits again and theven process to set up everything back takes longt ime enough and really stressful for me. Many thanks

Our Response:
That's really up to you. It might be worth going in and asking an adviser at Job Centre Plus about whether there's an easy way to do this.
VoluntaryWorker - 4-Jul-16 @ 1:48 PM
I am on JSA and housing benefits and I am offered for temporary job 4 weeks which will be paid. Should I accept this offer because after contract end I have to get back to my JSA and housing benefits again and theven process to set up everything back takes longt ime enough and really stressful for me. Many thanks
TatNola - 1-Jul-16 @ 4:20 PM
Burt - Your Question:
Hello. I have a few drunk and disorderly convictions and a ccj but the D&Ds were years ago. Will this effect my chances

Our Response:
The CCJ should not make much difference and the drunk and disorderly offences may prompt further clarification/investigation, to be sure you no longer drink to excess etc
VoluntaryWorker - 12-May-16 @ 1:51 PM
Hello. I have a few drunk and disorderly convictions and a ccj but the D&Ds were years ago. Will this effect my chances
Burt - 9-May-16 @ 10:43 PM
I have recently graduated and have criminal record which I received in beginning of 2014 and was wondering whether that will affect my chances to become volunteer legal caseworker. The record was given for s.4 public offence (threatening behaviour), for which I only received a fine.
hamed - 26-Aug-15 @ 1:29 PM
hi i am 48 single i would like to start as soon as posible i also have a crimal conviction i was in jail for three monthswill this stop me .
kathy - 26-Jun-13 @ 7:03 AM
this told me what i know. wanted to get some help.
lou - 20-Jun-13 @ 2:57 PM
Hi my name is caron My goal is to become a social worker or work with young offenders,any volunteer work I will be grateful of
Caron - 27-May-13 @ 9:55 PM
hi my name is david mcguinnessworked as a security guardwould like to work in clubs volunteer work.
none - 14-Jan-13 @ 10:35 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • VoluntaryWorker
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    Lindz - Your Question:Hi there, I am interested in helping out at a soup kitchen or something similar in Doncaster, South Yorkshire,…
    24 March 2017
  • VoluntaryWorker
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Cathy - Your Question:Hi I'd like to get information about cuddle care volunteer programmes in my area. I've worked…
    24 March 2017
  • Agata
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Hi I would love to take a part in cuddle programme. I'm a mother of one boy(1 year old). Kind Regards
    23 March 2017
  • Lindz
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    Hi there, i am interested in helping out at a soup kitchen or something similar in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, if you could put me in…
    21 March 2017
  • VoluntaryWorker
    Re: Hospice Volunteering
    Lozziemai - Your Question:Hi, I am 16 I am looking to volunteer evenings and alternative weekends. I have a anxiety disorder and looking to…
    21 March 2017
  • Ness
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Hi, im 52 yrs young have 4 grown up children with families of there own and i have 6 grand children, i would love to…
    21 March 2017
  • VoluntaryWorker
    Re: Volunteering for a Telephone Helpline
    Sjtotherescue - Your Question:Hi, I am really interested in volunterring.I had a nasty spinal accident so would need…
    21 March 2017
  • Cathy
    Re: Volunteering to Help Premature Babies
    Hi I'd like to get information about cuddle care volunteer programmes in my area. I've worked with many young people…
    21 March 2017
  • Becky
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    My husband and I would like to volunteer in the soup kitchen/bus in cardiff. How do we go about it?
    20 March 2017
  • Taz
    Re: Working with the Homeless
    I would really like to know how I could get involved with working with the homeless in my town of Reading. Could anyone point me in…
    20 March 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the VoluntaryWorker website. Please read our Disclaimer.