Volunteer DBS checks


5 Replies


6 Contributors

Created by Sally Darley - Last updated 2 months ago | Tags:

Authors' Post

Reply to discussion
13 September 2021 at 10:10am


I’ve always been required to renew my DBS every 3 years and so have any volunteers that I’ve worked with. I thought this was standard, however, since joining the NHS I’ve found out that our trust staff are not required to renew their DBS unless they move role and so have applied this principle to volunteers as well.

I understand that renewal is at the discretion of the employer but is this common practice? Do you require your volunteers to renew at all?

Many thanks

Reply to discussion

Viewing 1 - 5 of 5 Replies

Sort by:

13 September 2021 at 10:44am


Hi Sally

I would say its common practice to not renew DBS checks at the charities I am aware of and ours.

Its mainly a cost and resource issue for charities although its only a small proportion that volunteer for longer than 3 years so it won't impact too many.

Volunteers can sign themselves up for the updating service which is free and maintains their DBS check so they never need another. (it costs for staff) - but even though we mention it to our volunteers recruits almost no-one does sign up (and we can't on their behalf)

I speculate that if you are reviewing and supporting / checking in with your volunteers on a regular basis that it might be a better indication of their suitability for a role than another criminal record check.

I mention that because we do recruit volunteers who have a criminal record for most of our roles (we have a review process and in most cases we still take on the volunteer unless there are circumstances that worry us)

hope that helps


13 September 2021 at 4:17pm


HI Sally,

It is the same at our trust too. We DBS our volunteers once and although not many continue for three years or more we do have some that do, however, we still do not renew. I was not aware that they could have the annual update for free.

I know from managing the recruitment team in my previous role, if anyone that works with vulnerable adults or children and they commit a criminal offence that involves the police, the organisation are contacted and informed and the HR department makes a decision. I believe the person is suspended until the investigations are complete, obviously depending on the level of crime and where it breaches safeguarding laws. That is why I am not overly concerned.

If we have a volunteer that has a DBS that shows a criminal offence, we meet the volunteer and discuss the reasons, sometimes it happened when they were teenagers and now they are in their 50s etc., and possibly has no bearing on what they will be doing within the trust.

Hope this helps.


17 September 2021 at 12:48pm

1 Like

Here at NottsHC we renew every three years or if the volunteer moves role and this new role requires a differnt level. This in line with the recomendations (7) with in the Lampard Report.

All NHS hospital trusts should undertake DBS checks (including, where applicable, enhanced DBS and barring list checks) on their staff and volunteers every three years.

20 September 2021 at 12:40pm

1 Like

Here at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals we do not currently renew volunteer DBS checks after the initial check. At my previous Trust we renewed them every 3 years so it clearly varies from Trust to Trust.

14 October 2021 at 7:08am

1 Like

Hi Sally,

As like your Trust, our staff don't automatically have a DBS renewal, however, all of our volunteers are renewed every three years. But you do raise an interesting point as to why we do this if staff don't. And whilst there isn't a cost for volunteers' DBS as with staff, there is the cost of time and resources.



Viewing 1 - 5 of 5 Replies