Should all new volunteers and coaches be screened before being offered a volunteering opportunity?

You may want to screen all new volunteers at your club to help you assess whether they’re the right person for the role. If it’s a formal position, perhaps interview them and ask for references.

Whether volunteers need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks depends on their role in the club and who they’ll be working with. It’s not a requirement for all positions, but you should consider carefully what the remit of each volunteer role is before deciding on the level of screening required. National Council for Voluntary Organisations resources will help you understand the considerations.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has a useful flowchart that takes you through the decision making process around whether someone is undertaking ‘regulated activity’ and therefore requires a DBS check.

One important point of note is that DBS checks only cover the UK. If you have a potential volunteer who needs a check before they start their role, you should ask if they have spent any time living abroad. If the answer is ‘yes’ you will need to obtain, if possible, the equivalent of a DBS check for the time they have spent abroad. The procedure differs for each country.

See the following links for more information:

NCVO - Safeguarding guidance

NCVO - Safeguarding

Sport and Recreation Alliance - Decision-making flowchart

Gov.uk - Criminal records checks for overseas applicants