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Disclosure and Barring Service Checks


Taking the paper out of paperwork!


Some volunteering opportunities require you to submit to a Disclosure and Barring Service (Previously CRB) check before you can start to attend; this is a legal requirement designed to protect you and the organisation.

A DBS check is nothing to worry about; the government based service require basic information to confirm your identity, and a registered ID checker for the Students’ Union will need to see some proof of identity too. Much of the process is done online or in the Students’ Union so there really is nothing to worry about!

An average DBS check will take up to three weeks to complete if you are able to present valid identity.


Who needs a DBS Check?

The need for a DBS Check depends entirely upon the nature of the volunteering activity you are beginning to take part in but most opportunities involving work with children or vulnerable adults will require you to submit to a DBS Check.


Not every volunteering opportunity will require you submit to a check.


For more information on what roles are eligible for DBS checks please read the DBS Guide to Eligibility.


What roles are eligible for a volunteer check?

The DBS definition of a volunteer is defined in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 as:

“Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending, 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.”

To qualify for a free-of-charge disclosure and barring service check, the applicant must not:

- benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted

- receive any payment (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses)

- be on a work placement

- be on a course that requires them to do this job role

- be in a trainee position that will lead to a full time role/qualification



Examples of ineligible/eligible volunteer roles

I’m a parent helper at my child’s school

Eligible. This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party.

I’m a Scout or a Guide

Eligible. This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party.

I’m an adoptive parent

Eligible. This activity is entirely voluntary, is unpaid and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party.

I’m a foster carer

Ineligible. This activity is entirely voluntary but foster carers usually receive payments for these activities therefore it is deemed that neither foster carers nor other members of the household are entitled to free checks.

I’m going to volunteer abroad

Ineligible. This activity is entirely voluntary and is primarily aimed at providing a service to a third party, but these persons usually receive payment of a local salary, and lump sum payments, above and beyond what could be described as “travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses”.

I’m medical/teaching/other student on a work placement

Ineligible. This activity is a mandatory course requirement, is usually paid and is primarily undertaken to benefit the student


Can the Students’ Union support me?

To be eligible to claim a DBS Check through Staffordshire University Students’ Union you must:


Be a current student or SU staff member


Have a confirmed volunteering role in a Students' Union managed activity


We are not able to provide DBS Checks until confirmation of a volunteering placement is received, as this may constitute an illegal request for this information.

The Students’ Union does not fund the provision of DBS Checks. We are broker service to access free checks for voluntary personnel and as such we are not able to provide checks for non-voluntary roles or organisations.


I have an existing CRB/DBS Check do I need a new one?

CRB/DBS checks are only generally considered valid for 3 years before requiring revalidating but this depends entirely upon organisational policy. Also if you are changing to a new volunteering opportunity for example changing from working with children to working in a hospital then you may require a replacement check.


How do I apply?

There are two parts to every DBS application:

Stage 1: Online submission form

Stage 2: Identity checks

Once you have 100% completed your online submission, you are required to present proof of identity to the Student Activities Team for your application to be progressed.

For more information on accepted forms of identity please download the Staffs Union Accepted Proof of Identity Document.

Please note that until both stages are complete the check is not submitted to the DBS Checking Service for authorisation.


Useful Contacts













The Government department responsible for Disclosure and Barring Services


Phone: 0870 909 0811



Sensitive Applications Team

Customer Services

PO Box 165


L69 3JD








Our support organisation providing our online systems.


Phone: 0843 1780818



uCheck Individuals

Unit 11

Gidleys Meadow