DBS News Aug / Sep 2014

September 5th, 2014 by Jonathan Bazely

Volunteer Applications

The DBS work closely with the Registered Body network to ensure that applications submitted to the DBS meet their strict criteria for eligibility and volunteer status. In this month’s DBS news they have reported an increase in the number of applications submitted that do not meet these strict criteria. As such they have requested that organisations follow this simple 3 step process to confirm for themselves:

Step 1: Confirm that the role is eligible for a criminal record check, and at what level.

Step 2: Confirm that it meets the DBS definition of a volunteer.

Step 3: Indicate on the application form the role is a volunteer position.

To assist with this process, DDC have created some FAQs which will answer some of the key questions asked above. As a service provider, Due Diligence Checking Limited will seek to establish the status of applications at the account opening and set-up stage, to make applying for checks as easy as possible whilst remaining compliant with DBS requirements.

  • What is the DBS definition of a volunteer?  

    What is the DBS definition of a volunteer?

    The DBS do not charge an application fee for roles submitted as volunteers. As such they have a very strict definition of a volunteer:

    A person 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 other than or in addition to a close relative

    To be classed as a volunteer the applicant must not:

    • Benefit financially from the  job role being applied for
    • Receive any payment for the role (with the exception of travel and other approved ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses).
    • Be on a work placement.
    • Be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role.
    • Be on a course which requires them to undertake the role, to gain a qualification
    • Be a paid foster carer, or a member of a foster carer household.

    If the applicant meets any of the criteria above then they would be classed by the DBS as a paid role requiring the full fee to be paid.

    Go To FAQ Page
  • What are the different levels of Disclosure?

    What are the different levels of Disclosure?

    The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was passed to protect individuals with minor convictions, and assign a period of time that conviction information would remain on a record, before the individual was classed as rehabilitated. Once the rehabilitation period was reached (and there was no re-offence) the applicant would not need to disclose the information to anyone requesting it. It was also recognised that certain positions or professions should fall outside this protection, due to the nature of the work undertaken. As such the (Exceptions) Order 1975 was passed detailing under what circumstances the employer was eligible to request all spent and unspent criminal information. This legislation has been added to, and amended since it was originally introduced. The result is 3 main levels of Disclosure available:

    Basic Disclosures will show details of any unspent convictions. This means that an applicant would not need to disclose a ‘spent’ conviction if asked for a self-disclosure by an employer or other interested party (e.g. insurance provider) about unspent criminal convictions. Basic Disclosures are processed by DDC and supplied by the DBS for applicants living and working in England and Wales and Disclosure Scotland for applicants in Scotland.

    Standard Disclosures will show details of any convictions or cautions received by the subject, unspent or spent.* Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 the Government outlined certain roles/professions where an employer (or other interested party) can ask an individual to disclose any spent and unspent criminal convictions.

    Enhanced Disclosures will show the details of any convictions or cautions received by the subject, spent or unspent*, plus any ‘Approved Information’ held by the Police. Where an applicant is working in ‘Regulated Activity’ as defined by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the employer (or interested party) can also request a check of the Vetting and Barring Lists for working which children and/or adults.

    In Scotland there also exists the PVG Scheme for those working in Regulated Activity, which can result in one of three documents being issued. A Scheme Membership Statement, a Scheme Record or a Scheme Update Statement. For more information please search PVG in the search function.

    Please click here if you would like to register your organisation to request checks upon your staff members/volunteers.

    *Under new legislation introduced in May 2013 certain spent conviction are now classed as ‘protected’ and will be ‘filtered’ from a Disclosure Certifcate. This generally includes old and minor convictions, where there is no history of re-offence. For more information view the Filtering Guidelines FAQ.

    Go To FAQ Page
  • Should I choose a Basic, Standard or Enhanced Disclosure for my employee?

    Should I choose a Basic, Standard or Enhanced Disclosure for my employee?

    Ultimately this is the decison of the employer to ensure they request the correct level of Disclosure for the work their employees are undertaking. Below is some guidance that can help with this decision making process:

    Basic Disclosures can be requested for any role, including those adhering to the Cabinet Office Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

    The Standard check is available for certain specified occupations, licences and entry into certain specified professions e.g. solicitors or some FCA controlled positions. Specifically, these are roles that are exempted from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974) by way of being listed in the Exceptions Order (1975) and subsequent revisions. A Standard Disclosure contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings from the Police National Computer (PNC)*

    The Enhanced check is available for those included in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 plus the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations. This level of check contains the same PNC information as the Standard Check but also includes a check of police records held locally. Enhanced checks may also include a check of the Children’s and Adult’s barred list, if they fall under the definition of Regulated Activity.

    You should verify that you are eligible to request a Standard or Enhanced check before proceeding with the request.

    Go To FAQ Page

Updated Guidance on Eligibility and Workforce details.

In the July / August 2014 DBS News we confirmed that the DBS were making some changes to the eligibility criteria and they have now updated the guidance on the website to reflect this new information. For a summary of these changes please see the previous DBS New Article.

To see a full copy of the DBS News, please go to the www.gov.uk website.