Do I need a DBS check for working with the homeless?

As the majority of us return to normality following the Christmas break, around 320,000 people in the UK remain homeless.

Charities and organisations are finding more and more ways to fight homelessness. You may want to volunteer your time to help, but do you need a DBS check before doing so?

‘Homeless shelters’ and ‘sheltered housing’ are different terms which can be confused for the same thing.

Sheltered housing is accommodation specifically for older people, or younger disabled people, to allow them to live independently. Sheltered housing buildings are usually self-contained flats with communal areas. If someone will be directly working with adults who are living in sheltered housing, then they are normally eligible for the enhanced DBS check.

Homeless shelters or ‘night shelters’ are buildings set up to provide temporary shelter, food, sanitation etc. for any and all homeless people. They often have rooms with many beds in one room to accommodate many people.

Those working/volunteering at homeless shelters may be responsible for running the shelter, acting as a go to for the guests, helping them with potential vulnerabilities or handling confidential information. Although homeless people are in vulnerable situations, unfortunately any of the above work carried out with them is not classed by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) as regulated activity, and would not be covered in the enhanced DBS child or adult ‘workforce’ criteria.

Therefore, if you are working in a homeless or night shelter, you would be eligible for the basic DBS check, rather than the enhanced DBS check that those working in sheltered housing would be eligible for.

If you have any questions regarding DBS level eligibility, or if you require DBS checks for your organisation, please give us a call on 0151 638 6158 or email us: [email protected]

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