Disclosure and Barring Service FAQs

We get a lot of frequently asked questions (FAQs) from clubs about the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). So, we thought we’d put our popular club DBS FAQs together with answers for you.

If you need help with the Disclosure and Barring Service and how it works then see if you can find the answer in our DBS FAQs below.

If your answer is not there, call the Membership Services Department on 01509 640727 or email renewals@swimming.org.

What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Home Office which was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and started operating on 1 December 2012.

It helps organisations and employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children.

The DBS 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.

What is the DBS’s definition of a volunteer?

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.

What is an Enhanced Disclosure?

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.

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

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

Further information on roles that require a DBS can be found in Wavepower.

Are Officials required to complete a DBS check?

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.

Are DBS checks compulsory?

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.

What is the process and how long does it take?

With the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act Swim England has introduced a new DBS online service provided by our partners GBGroup (Formerly TMG CRB).

All DBS applications should now be made through the online service. All club Welfare Officers and Swim Schools have been sent information on activating their online service along with an activation PIN.

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

An average DBS check made through the online service takes 2 days. Until such time as clearance is confirmed by Swim England 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.

How much does it cost?

DBS checks are free to Swim England 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 Swim England (i.e. a teacher working in an affiliated swim school), then there is a charge of £58.00 to cover the cost of the disclosure and administration fees.

How long are DBS checks valid for?

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, Swim England 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.

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

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, their application isn’t of the required level or workforce, will be required to complete a new DBS application.

What is the DBS Update Service?

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 Certificate 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.

Benefits to applicants:

  1. Saves applicants time and money.
  2. One DBS Certificate is all applicants may ever need.
  3. Take their DBS Certificate from role to role within the same workforce.
  4. Applicants are in control of their DBS Certificate.
  5. Get ahead of the rest and apply for jobs DBS pre-checked.
How do applicants access the Update Service?

Applicants can join the Update Service online at www.gov.uk/dbs.

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

Can I challenge the information revealed on my DBS check?

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 03000 200 190. Disputes must be raised with the DBS within three months of the date of issue of the Disclosure.

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

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 requested the application.

Who should check my documents of identification?

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

Who will see my information?

Your personal information will only be seen by those whose jobs require them to do so. Put simply, only the necessary DBS staff at Swim England head office making the checks in order for you to receive clearance.

Do I need to send in any documents?

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

Who can clubs contact for further help and advice?

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 helpline on 03000 200 190 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.

Does Swim England provide a list of DBS checked members?

Yes, Swim England can provide a Child Protection List to Club Welfare Officers (of their club members only). This will show any registered club members that have an enhanced DBS disclosure certificate, these will show as ‘DBS Cleared’ on the list. If registered club members are missing from your club list or amendments are required, please email dbs@swimming.org with full details.

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