'Help for sports clubs & volunteers in Wales'
Managing Your Club

The DBS and DBS Check

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is a government service. It helps prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. Processing requests for criminal records checks, it helps organisations like sports clubs make safer volunteer recruitment decisions.

It has replaced the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

How do I arrange a DBS check?

  • Individuals cannot apply for a check directly to the DBS. Contact your National Governing Body of Sport to see if they can support you to complete your DBS checks.  If a check cannot be done through your National Governing Body of Sport you need to ask an umbrella body that is already registered with the DBS to handle it for you.

    From 1st October 2016 the Welsh Sports Association will be launching a new DBS service. For members a discounted rate will be available. For more info please contact

Do we have to pay?

  1. DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge – as long as the applicant will not benefit directly from the position in your sports club or organisation. However there is an administration charge for processing the checks.
    That criteria for volunteers:
  • They must not be paid (except for ordinary expenses)
  • Be on a work placement
  • Be on a course that requires them to do this job role
  • Be in a trainee position which will lead to a full time role or qualification.
  • To confirm you qualify for free DBS checks, read the section on Volunteer Applications in the following guidance
  • You can also email the DBS’ customer services team to make sure.

Do all volunteers require a DBS check?

  • Criminal record checks are only undertaken on people aged 16 or over.
  • Some volunteers will require a standard DBS check. Others will require an enhanced (or their standard check will be enhanced with) a barred list check. To work out who needs which type of check, the LTA have a handy flowchart

Some volunteers already have a DBS check. Do they need a new one?

  • If a volunteer already has a DBS check – perhaps from a paid employer or a previous role – they may have subscribed to the DBS’ Update Service
  • If this is the case you may be able to check their criminal records status online immediately.
  • If the volunteer has not subscribed to the update service you will need to apply for a new check as offences may have been committed since the previous check. Always check with your National Governing Body of Sport as not all organisations accept checks from the update service.

When do DBS checks expire and need updating?

  • If the applicant registers for the updated service annually they do not expire
  • It is the decision of the club or organisation when to update the checks
  • However, the NSPCC (and most National Governing Bodies of Sport) recommend renewing the checks every three years
  • Renewal checks are currently completed the same way as the first check, through an umbrella body such as the WCVA.

What happens if we don’t carry out DBS checks?

DBS checks help make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. A DBS check is the only way you can check to see if someone is barred from working with children or adults at risk. It is against the law for employers to employ someone or allow them to volunteer with children or adults at risk if they know they’re on a barred lists.

If you require any further information please visit the DBS website or email their customer services team.

There is lots more guidance and information on safeguarding children and adults at risk available on the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit website