FAQ - Disclosure and Barring Service

Have a query about the the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)? See if our FAQs below answer your question.

FAQ - The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)


Have a query about the DBS? See if our FAQs below answer your question.


Q. What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

A. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps organisations and employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).


DBS is an executive non-departmental public body of the Home Office


The DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and started operating on 1 December 2012. It carries out the functions previously undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for England and Wales and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Q. What is the DBS’s definition of a ‘volunteer’?

A. A volunteer is defined as a person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than or in addition to a close relative. That it is not part of a course that will lead to paid employment.


Q. What is an Enhanced Disclosure?

A. This is the highest level of check available to anyone involved in regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of children or vulnerable adults. Enhanced Disclosures contain the same information as the Standard Disclosure but with the addition of any relevant and proportionate information held by the local police forces.


An Enhanced DBS disclosure is a record of all warnings, reprimands, cautions and convictions from local and national police records. Information may also be disclosed at the discretion of the Chief Police Officer if that information is deemed relevant to the role the individual is applying for.


Q. Which members of the Club are required to complete a DBS check?

A.  Any individuals wishing to work with children or adults at risk are required to undertake a Barred List check and/or Enhanced DBS Disclosure.


A Barred List check is a legal requirement for all individuals applying to work in Regulated Activity. This check will show whether an individual is barred from working with children or adults at risk.


The Protection of Freedoms Act has amended the definition of Regulated Activity with the intention of fewer individuals being classified as in Regulated Activity and therefore fewer people legally required to be checked. The new definition of Regulated Activity is outlined below:


1. Unsupervised activities teach, train, instruct, care for or supervise children, or provide advice/guidance on well-being, or drive a vehicle only for children;

2. Work for a limited range of establishments (‘specified places’), with opportunity for contact for example, schools, children’s homes, childcare premises.  Not work by supervised volunteers;


For further information on roles that require a DBS check can be found here.


Q. Are Officials required to complete a DBS check?

A. In accordance with DBS guidance no officials will require a DBS check. This is because officials are generally not required in their role to talk to children and young people whilst they are officiating. If a child approaches an official to ask a question or request assistance they should be directed to the appropriate coach, poolside helper or chaperone. If a referee needs to speak to a child this should always be done through or with the child’s coach. Therefore the opportunity for the official to have one to one or group contact is not present.


Q. Are DBS checks compulsory?

A. DBS do not make their checks compulsory. However, it is a condition of affiliation to the ASA (be it a club or other body that affiliates to the ASA) to accept our procedure that all helpers working closely with children or vulnerable adults and could find themselves in a one-one situation do complete the necessary checks. As a member of an affiliated club or other body, individual members are automatically bound under ASA Laws and Regulations  to comply with the ASA’s DBS checking process BUT it is only required if an individual wants to take up a role which requires a DBS check. If an individual is unwilling to do so, they must not be used by the club in any position that places them in a position of trust with children.


Q. What is the process and how long does it take?

A. With the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act and recent changes to the way the DBS are now processing DBS applications the ASA have introduced a new DBS online service provided by our partners GBGroup (Formerly TMG CRB). All DBS application should now be made through the online service. All club Welfare Officers and Swim Schools have now been sent information on activating their online service along with an activation PIN. 


The ASA is no longer accepting DBS paper applications unless prior agreement has been sort from the ASA DBS Coordinator.


An average DBS check made through the online service takes 2 days. Until such time as clearance is confirmed by the ASA that individual will not be able to undertake the role applied for but may remain in a supervised role for a maximum of 3 months.


Q. How much does it cost?

A. DBS checks are free to ASA volunteer club members. If an individual is in a paid position at the club the cost of the DBS check is £58.00. If an individual is not part of a club, but wishes to be checked through the ASA (i.e. for the ASA Teacher Licensing Scheme), then there is a charge of £58.00 to cover the cost of the disclosure and administration fees.


Q. How long are DBS checks valid for?

A. DBS checks have no period of validity as the information on the Disclosure is a snap shot in time at the date that the checks were completed and must be seen as just one part of a safe recruitment process. However, the ASA recommends that clubs endeavour to get their volunteers re-checked every three years. It is advised to renew in the third year, rather than let it run out.


Q. What happens if I already have a current DBS check with another organisation?

A. With the introduction by the DBS of the Update Service any applications receiving their Disclosure Certificates after the 17th June 2013 can now register with the Update Service. This will allow DBS Certificates to be reused when applying for similar jobs within the same workforce, child workforce, adult workforce or child and adult workforce and reduce the burden of red tape on employers.


This new subscription service lets individuals keep their DBS Certificates up-to-date so they can take it with them when they move jobs or roles.


Those applicants that are not registered with the Update Service or their application isn’t of the required level or workforce will be required to complete a new DBS application.


Q.  What is the DBS Update Service

A. One of the government’s priorities is to overhaul the criminal records regime to give individuals greater control of their own information, allow DBS Certificates to be reused when applying for similar jobs within the same workforce, child workforce, adult workforce or child and adult workforce and reduce the burden of red tape on employers.


This new subscription service lets individuals keep their DBS Certificates up-to-date so they can take it with them when they move jobs or roles.


For a small annual subscription of just £13 (free for volunteers) applicants can have their DBS Certificate kept up-to-date and take it with them from role to role, within the same workforce, where the same type and level of check is required.


By subscribing to the new service they could save themselves a lot of time and money depending upon how many DBS checks they have needed in the past.


Q.  How do applicants access the Update Service?

A. From 17 June 2013 applicants will be able to join the Update Service online at www.gov.uk/dbs.


Benefits to applicants


•              Saves applicants time and money.

•              One DBS Certificate is all applicants may ever need.

•              Take their DBS Certificate from role to role within the same workforce.

•              Applicants are in control of their DBS Certificate.

•              Get ahead of the rest and apply for jobs DBS pre-checked.


Further information on this service including Applicants Guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/dbs


Q. Can I challenge the information revealed on my DBS check?

A. Yes. If you think there is an error with your DBS check or you do not agree with any of the information then please call DBS directly on 0870 90 90 778. Disputes must be raised with the DBS within three months of the date of issue of the Disclosure.


Q. Do I need to complete a DBS form for each club I am a member with?

A. No. All your club memberships will be attached to your record. We can send confirmation letters to any of the other clubs if requested to, but the original confirmation will go to the club that you submitted the form for.


Q. How will the single disclosure certificate affect clubs and applicants?

A. Previously, the DBS issued Disclosure Certificates to both the applicant and the registered body or umbrella body. From 17 June 2013, the DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate will be issued by the DBS to the applicant only.


As a consequence of this change the ASA may request applicants send in an original copy of their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate before they can confirm with clubs that an individual is clear to undertake a role in Regulated Activity.


Q. Which applicants will be required to send in their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate?

A. Paper DBS Applications


All applicants that complete a paper DBS application will be contacted requesting that he / she send in the original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate within 21 days of receipt. Pending receipt of an original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate the individual shall not be permitted to undertake a role in Regulated Activity but may remain in a supervised role for a maximum of 3 months.


Online DBS Applications


Applicants that complete an online application through the ASA online service provided by TMG will not be required to forward their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate unless it is indicated that the DBS Disclosure has content on it.  If a DBS Disclosure has content the individual will be contacted requesting that he / she send in the original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate within 28 days. Failure to comply with this request may result in the applicant being suspended from the ASA.


Q. Who should check my documents of identification?

A. The Welfare Officer of the club. If they are not available then any other Club Officer (Club Secretary or Registration Officer) Original identification documents must be produced along with a photocopy of each.


Q. Who will see my information?

A. Your personal information will only be seen by those whose jobs require them to do so. Put simply, only the DBS staff at 'the ASA' Head office making the checks that are necessary in order for you to receive clearance to take up the role for which you have applied.


Q. Do I need to send in any documents?

A. Do not send your ID into the ASA; we do not check your documents. They need to be taken to the Welfare Officer or Club Secretary of your club in order that their sections of the online application can be completed.


Q. Who can clubs contact for further help and advice?

A. If you require further information please contact Mrs Samantha Massey on 01509 640738 or email DBS@swimming.org. Alternatively you may wish to contact the DBS information line on 0870 90 90 844 or visit their website at www.gov.uk/dbs. Please also refer to the DBS’s Code of Practice, which can also be found on their website.



Q. Where can I get advice on Child Protection Courses?

A.  All upcoming courses are listed under the 'Events' tab at the top of the page, alternatively click here to browse the courses. If further information is required please contact the ASA on 01509 640700 and speak to the Education / Work Force Development Department who will be able to assist you.


Q. Does the ASA provide a list of members who have been DBS checked?

A. Yes, the ASA can provide a Child Protection List to Club Welfare Officers (of their club members only). This will show any registered club members that have completed a purple form and received an enhanced DBS disclosure certificate, therefore they will show as ‘DBS Cleared’ on the list. If the individuals have just completed the purple ASA form they will show on the list as ‘purple form only or self declared’. Those individuals are required to complete a DBS application. If registered club members are missing from your club list or amendments are required, please provide full details in writing to the ASA Membership Services Department so these matters can be resolved.

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