If someone’s role involves more than one of the activities below and the activities allow for different levels of check they can be asked to obtain the higher level of check that is available to them, the Charity Commission’s safeguarding guidance advises charity trustees to get the highest level of DBS check that a role is eligible for.
Remember: anyone can access a basic DBS check, even if they are not eligible for a higher level of check
The guidelines below are specifically for roles which undertake activities with children. While less common, some activities with adults would make a role at a faith centre eligible for Enhanced DBS check with or without adults’ Barred List check. Please see our separate guidance on eligibility when working with adults.

Charity Trustees:

  • Charity trustees are eligible for an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check if the staff and volunteers within their charity include those who carry out the regulated activity with children. Instances of regulated activity in this guidance have the words “regulated activity” after them. For more information on a regulated activity,please see the DBS page.
  • A charity trustee could also be eligible for the children’s Barred List check if they undertake regulated activity themselves or manage someone who does.

Church Leader (Priest, Vicar, Minister):

  • providing pastoral care, including giving advice and guidance on emotional physical or educational wellbeing to children:
    • on more than 3 days in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
    • on 3 days or less in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check
  • teaching children – check the information for Children’s service leaders below
  • with responsibility for day-to-day management of staff and volunteers in regulated activity with children – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)

A church leader may also undertake activities with adults which would make them eligible for an enhanced check with or without an adults’ Barred list check.  Please see our separate guidance on eligibility when working with adults.     

See also ‘Overnight and residential stays’ below.   

Children’s services leader (Sunday school or Children’s liturgy):

  • who teaches children or is responsible for the care and supervision of children:
    • on more than 3 days in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
    • on 3 days or less in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check

If however that care or supervision involves nappy changing or help with toileting because they are too young or physically unable to do it themselves due to illness or disability then the volunteer or staff member who is responsible for doing this can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity).  This would only need to occur on one or more occasion. There must be an expectation that they will do this as part of the role and the check should not be requested just in case the need arises.

See also ‘Overnight and residential stays’ below.

Youth Workers:

  • who are responsible for teaching or supervising children on more than 3 days in a 30-day period and are not supervised by someone who is in regulated activity with children – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
  • who are responsible for teaching or supervising children on 3 days or less in a 30-day period, or are supervised by somebody who is in regulated activity with children – can get an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check
  • who are responsible for providing advice and guidance on emotional, physical and educational wellbeing to youth groups
    • on more than 3 days in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS checkwith a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
    • on 3 days or less in a 30-day period, can get an enhanced DBS checkwithout a children’s Barred List check

See also ‘Overnight and residential stays’ below.

Caretakers:

  • whose work is limited to cleaning, locking up or building maintenance – can get a basic DBS check
  • whose work involved other duties listed on this page, check the relevant role

Drivers:

  • who, on behalf of the church, transport children:
    • on more than 3 days in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
    • on 3 days or less in a 30-day period – can get an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check

A driver may also be eligible for an enhanced or enhanced with adults’ Barred list check if their role involves driving certain groups of adults.  Please see our separate guidance on eligibility when working with adults.

Choir masters:

  • who are responsible for teaching or supervising children on more than 3 days in a 30-day period and are not supervised by someone who is in regulated activity with children – can get an enhanced DBS check with a children’s Barred List check (regulated activity)
  • who are responsible for teaching or supervising children on 3 days or less in a 30-day period, or are supervised by somebody who is in regulated activity with children – can get an enhanced DBS check without a children’s Barred List check

Overnight and residential stays:

Where children stay overnight, at a youth camp or religious festival for example, without their parents or legal guardians present, there are activities which would allow for a DBS check:

If any individual, whether staff or volunteer, is responsible for:
  • the care or supervision of children other than their own overnight between 2am and 6am, with the opportunity for face to face contact – even if this is done only once – that person can get an enhanced DBS check with a check of the children’s Barred List (regulated activity)
  • teaching, training or instructing children other than their own during this time or providing them with advice and guidance on their physical, emotional or educational wellbeing between 2am and 6am – that person can also get an enhanced DBS check with a check of the children’s Barred List (regulated activity)

Overseas Checks:

If you are recruiting staff or volunteers from overseas, the Charity Commission expects trustees to carry out checks where possible. Whilst some foreign offences can occasionally appear on DBS checks, this is unlikely and DBS does not have access to criminal records in other countries. It is strongly recommended that separate overseas criminal record checks such as Certificates of Good Character or the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) are carried out where relevant. This is to ensure the recruiter has as much information as possible to make that safer recruitment decision.

More information can be found here:

Additional support

Thirtyone:eight is an independent Christian safeguarding charity which provides advice and guidance on safeguarding – including DBS – to places of worship of all faiths, charities and other organisations. They are the largest provider of DBS checks to the faith sector. To access some of their support services, you will need to become a member if you are not already.

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