COVID-19 roles and DBS checks

Which coronavirus roles require a DBS check?

 
This information sheet is intended to help organisations decide whether to carry out DBS checks on volunteers who are applying for common roles that are being developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Feedback from the DBS and NCVO has been obtained on the information set out below. We have also used information from this government factsheet. 
 
Information on the different levels of DBS check and the information on criminal history that each level provides can be found here. 
 
A basic level check can be obtained for any volunteer role by the individual themselves or through a Responsible Organisation. See a list of Responsible Organisations registered with the DBS to submit basic checks through a web service. However bear in mind that basic checks will only reveal whether the person has any unspent convictions and will not tell you if they are barred from regulated activity. Do not rely on DBS checks alone; use other vetting measures to check suitability for a role.
 
For each role, we have also included some tips on keeping everyone safe. The tips are intended as a starting point and are not an exhaustive list – you should conduct a risk assessment for the role, taking into account your organisation’s context and service users.
 
Roles that don't require a DBS check
Cooking food
Packing up food parcels
Dog walking
Delivering food parcels or hot meals at people's homes
Telephone befriender
Online group facilitator

Roles that may require a DBS check
Shopping for essentials
Collecting prescription medication
 
Roles that will require a DBS check
Patient driver
Online group facilitator for children
 
 
 

 
 

List of roles that don't require a DBS check

 

Cooking food (in a kitchen with other staff and volunteers) 

DBS check required? No. There is no contact with children or vulnerable adults. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: maintaining social distancing, having a high standard of food hygiene, providing hand washing facilities, gloves and possibly face masks. Cater for special diets, faith, etc.  
 
 

Packing up food parcels for children, elderly and vulnerable people at a central location such as a hub. 

DBS check required? No, as there is no contact with children or vulnerable adults. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: maintaining social distancing, having a high standard of food hygiene, providing hand washing facilities, gloves and possibly face masks. Cater for special diets, faith, etc.
 
 

Dog walking for an elderly or vulnerable person

DBS required? No, as there will be no direct contact with vulnerable adults. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: instructing volunteers not to enter the home, asking the dog owner and volunteer to tie the lead to something (e.g. door handle or fence) when handing over the dog so social distancing can be maintained. Provide volunteers with gloves or sanitising wipes to clean the dog lead. The volunteer should avoid touching the dog and should use hand sanitiser after completing the task.
 

 

 

Delivering food parcels or hot meals at people's homes, no money involved

DBS required? No, as there will be no direct contact with children or vulnerable adults. 
Keep everyone safe by: Provide hand washing facilities and ensure social distancing at the parcel collection point. Provide induction to volunteers on food hygiene, provide gloves, hand sanitiser, possibly face masks. Instruct volunteers not to enter the home, leave the parcel on the doorstep and move 2 metres away.
 
 

Telephone befriender  (phoning a vulnerable person to combat social isolation, refer them to other services as necessary)

DBS required? No. Regulated activity with adults is quite specific and linked to personal care and healthcare, so unless it is a telephone consultation for health/care reasons it is not eligible for a DBS check.
 
Keep everyone safe by: having a DBS checked staff member call the client occasionally to see how the befriending is going, providing clear information on the boundaries of the volunteer role to the volunteer and client or using a teleconference system (e.g. Zoom) to avoid exchanging telephone numbers.
 
 

Online group facilitator for adults  (e.g. exercise class for older people via video link)

DBS check required? No. The DBS eligibility for hosting online services is only explicitly for services provided for children.
Keep everyone safe by: providing information on the content and suitability of the activity so clients can make a decision on whether to engage. If possible, ask for a carer to be in the room while the online class is taking place. The volunteer’s supervisor could join the online class on an ad hoc basis.
 
 

 

List of roles that MAY require a DBS check


The following roles/activities are classed as regulated activity ONLY IF they are provided to someone who was already classed as ‘vulnerable’ due to age, disability or illness PRIOR to having to self-isolate or be shielded during the COVID-19 crisis. The act of self-isolating or shielding in itself does not make someone vulnerable.
 
 

Shopping for food /groceries for older and vulnerable people and delivering to their homes  (the vulnerable person’s money is involved)

DBS check required? An enhanced with adult barred list DBS check is required if the recipient is already classed as a vulnerable adult. Shopping is a regulated activity if done on behalf of an adult who is previously classed as vulnerable due to age, illness or disability.
No DBS required if the recipient is a child or is an adult not previously classed as a vulnerable.  
 
Keep everyone safe by: asking volunteers to maintain social distance, being aware of dietary needs/allergies, asking volunteers not to enter the house and to leave shopping at the front door and step 2 meters away. Volunteers should make sure the shopping is collected before leaving. Use face mask while in the shop, wash hands, use hand sanitiser or gloves.
 
 

Collecting prescription medication from local pharmacy and delivering it to vulnerable people’s home  (exchange of money could be involved)

DBS check required? An enhanced with adult barred list DBS check is required if the recipient is previously classed as a vulnerable adult due to age, illness or disability. This is because delivering medication is a form of health care and therefore a regulated activity if done on behalf of an adult who is classed as vulnerable.
 
No DBS required if the recipient is a child or is not a vulnerable adult. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: asking the recipient to pay the prescription fee over the phone. If the volunteer runs off with drugs, organisations should report them to the police and not use them again. Volunteers should not enter the house and wait 2 metres away for the person to collect and check the medication.
 

 

List of roles that will require a DBS check


Patient driver  (driving older, ill and disabled person from hospital or health care service to their home)

DBS check required? An enhanced with adult barred list DBS check is required. Transporting and/or accompanying an adult who is classed as vulnerable to health care services is regulated activity. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: There is a high risk of COVID-19 infection, as the volunteer will be in the same vehicle as the patient. Organisations should give volunteers personal protective equipment.
 
 

Online group facilitator for children  (e.g. online classes for school or youth groups via video link)

DBS check required? An enhanced with children’s barred list DBS check is required as hosting online services for children is regulated activity. 
 
Keep everyone safe by: providing information on the content and suitability of the activity so parents can make a decision on whether to allow children to engage. The organisation can request that a parent/carer should be in the room while the online class is taking place, or always have a teacher/youth worker present in the online class.
 
 
 

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