Criminal records system to be free for volunteers

The government has confirmed that Criminal records checks will continue to be free for volunteers.

The Home Office has backed away from the prospect of charging volunteers a fee if they need to update their records online to take account of any changes in their circumstances.

Volunteering bodies had campaigned hard against the proposal, fearing it would put people off volunteering at all or incentivise them to simply have a new criminal records check each time they started a new voluntary role, as new checks will be free.

The new Update Service, due to go live next spring, means that once a volunteer has a DBS check they should not need to undergo a new check every time they start a new volunteering opportunity. Instead, the system will allow an organisation to check online to see whether the volunteer’s circumstances have changed since their first check.

This new system has been hailed as a great step forward by volunteering bodies because the need for repeated checks has been a major source of complaints from people wanting to volunteer since CRB checks were introduced in 2002.