Are DBS checks free for volunteers?

If an applicant meets the volunteer criteria they will able to have the volunteer status applied to their standard or enhanced DBS check.

APCS will only charge the administrative fee for the volunteer applications, meaning the government fee of either £23.00 (standard checks) or £40.00 (enhanced checks) is waived.

This is the same situation in regard to the COVID-19 DBS applications. Please see here for more information about the COVID-19 applications.

What is a DBS Volunteer application?

The Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002 defines a ‘volunteer’ as:
“Any 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 and not a close relative.”

When assessing an applicant for a volunteer status DBS check, you must ask the following questions of the role:

  1. Will the applicant benefit directly from the role?
  2. Except for travel and out of pocket expenses, will the applicant receive any payment?
  3. Is the applicant on a work placement?
  4. Is the applicant on a course that requires them to do this role?
  5. Is the applicant in a position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then the applicant does not qualify for the DBS volunteer status.

Are DBS Basic checks free for volunteers?

Unfortunately, the Disclosure and Barring Service do not allow Basic DBS checks to have the volunteer status applied to them, even if the person is not in a paid role. Only standard and enhanced checks are allowed to have the volunteer status applied to them.

How long is a volunteer DBS check valid for?

The volunteer status is not a factor in how long a DBS check lasts. The DBS check, whether a volunteer application or not, is only valid the date it was issued, unless the applicant signs up to the Update Service.

Can I put a volunteer DBS check onto the Update Service?

A volunteer DBS check can be put onto the Update Service, unless the DBS volunteer application was for a COVID-19 role. A non COVID-19 volunteer DBS check can be registered on the Update Service free of charge.

How do I apply for volunteer DBS checks?

If you are already an APCS customer, please give us a call on 0151 638 6158.
If you are not already registered with us, register for free here.