Need some advice on DBS Checks for religious organisations?
Safeguarding is of paramount importance in religious organisations, and DBS Checks play a crucial role.
This blog explains who needs a DBS Check, what sort of check they’re eligible for and how to go about getting DBS Checks for religious organisations.
What sort of checks are available?
There are three different levels of DBS Check: Basic, Standard and Enhanced.
- A Basic DBS Check is the lowest level of check. It will show any unspent convictions the applicant has. There are no eligibility requirements for a Basic Check – anyone aged 16 or over can have one.
- A Standard DBS Check will show any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings the applicant has. Standard Checks are for people carrying out any of a list of specific roles, including lawyers and accountants.
- An Enhanced DBS Check will show the same information as a Standard Check, as well as any relevant information held by the applicant’s local police force. It also may include a check of the adults’ and/or children’s barred list, if the applicant is eligible. Again, Enhanced Checks are for people carrying out any of a specific list of roles – most of which involve working with children or vulnerable adults.
DBS Checks for religious organisations: Religious leaders
Religious leaders (for example, imams, priests, rabbis, chaplains etc.) are eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of both the adults’ and children’s barred lists providing that they are doing a regulated activity in their role such as pastoral care.
The barred lists are two lists maintained by the DBS. They contain details of people who have been barred from working with vulnerable adults or children, respectively.
The term ‘regulated activity’ refers to a list of specific roles and activities that a barred person must not do. For the full list, see the government’s guidance on regulated activity with adults and children.
Religious leaders may be eligible for this type of check because they provide pastoral care, which is classed as a type of healthcare – and providing healthcare is a regulated activity.
DBS Checks for religious organisations: Working with Children
Other employees or volunteers working for a religious organisation may also be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check based on the regulated activity they may be doing in their role, whether they are teaching at a Sunday School or working for a crèche located within a church hall.
If the role involves teaching or mentoring children such as a Sunday School Teacher they will be eligible for an Enhanced Check against the child workforce with a children’s barred list check, as this is a regulated activity.
Workers/volunteers working directly for a crèche (i.e. caring for or supervising children more than three times in any 30-day period) can be asked to apply for an Enhanced Disclosure Check in the child workforce with a children’s barred list check. This is in line with the Office for Standards in Education’s (Ofsted) registration regime.
Other people working or volunteering on the church premises whilst the crèche is open but are not engaging in regulated activity only need to be asked to apply for a Basic Disclosure check.
If you’re not sure whether a role is eligible for an Enhanced Check, see the DBS eligibility guidance.
DBS Checks for religious organisations: Working in hospitals and hospices
If someone is working in a role such as a chaplain at a hospital or hospice and providing pastoral care to patients, they will be eligible for an Enhanced DBS check with a check against both barred lists. However, if the applicant is not providing any care or a regulated activity in their role but they are accessing patients on wards, they can obtain a Standard DBS check as long as they are meeting the frequency (at least once a week or 3 or more times in a 30-day period).
DBS Checks for religious organisations: Other roles
All roles are eligible for a Basic DBS Check, however there may be occasions where there is an eligibility for an Enhanced DBS check. This is where the applicant is carrying out a regulated activity in their role.
For example, the general duties of a Church Verger (e.g. leading the procession) do not make the role eligible for a Standard or Enhanced DBS check. However, if the Verger also has other specific duties in their role relating to pastoral care or another regulated activity then they may be eligible for the Enhanced DBS check with the relevant workforce and barred list checks.
How do I apply for DBS Checks for religious organisations?
If you’re ready to apply for DBS checks for your religious organisation, you can get started on our website now.
Applying for checks is easy via our online system, and most checks are completed within 48 hours.
If you have any other questions about DBS Checks for religious organisations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d be happy to help.