New eligibility guidance released for the charity sector and overseas aid organisations

26 July 2022 | Applicable law: England and Wales

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) released new eligibility guidance for DBS checks on 14 July. The new guidance applies to both staff and volunteer roles.

The two new leaflets – one addressing working with children and one addressing working with adults – include information on the different types of DBS checks that are available (Basic, Standard, Enhanced, and Enhanced with Barred List(s)) and the eligibility criteria for various roles and the application to overseas organisations.

DBS checks and regulated activity

Standard and Enhanced DBS checks should only be applied for when the employee / volunteer will actually be carrying out the activities that would make them eligible for a check as part of their everyday responsibilities (and not on a provisional or speculative basis). Basic DBS checks can be applied for at any time.

Note that charities have a duty to make a referral to the DBS when it believes a person has caused harm or poses a future risk of harm to vulnerable groups, including children.

Overseas activity

Where a person is employed or volunteers to work over overseas for a charity, they may be eligible for a DBS check if the suitability decision is made in England or Wales.

Charities should consider whether they need to undertake criminal record checks overseas and obtain certificates of good character (usually obtained via the relevant embassy).

The updated guidance also provided scenario examples in order to provide a better understanding of DBS check eligibility for charities, as well as a more detailed commentary on certain kinds of volunteering scenarios (e.g. volunteering in a care home, or operating a telephone helpline).

For the full suite of DBS guidance leaflets, see here.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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