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Schools: Vetting

Question for Department for Education

UIN 110273, tabled on 30 October 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions she has had with the Home Secretary on ensuring that DBS checks for volunteers and governors who volunteer at multiple schools remain valid across all schools.

Answered on

7 November 2017

My Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education has not had discussions with my Rt hon. Friend, the Home Secretary about DBS checks for school volunteers, including governors. Department officials maintain regular contact with the Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and are involved in key discussions on policy development.

Statutory safeguarding guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’, available at, explains the circumstances in which schools are required to obtain DBS checks for staff, governors and volunteers. Where a person moves between roles in schools or between schools, provided the ‘level’ of DBS check required for each role is identical, there is nothing to prevent a school from accepting previously issued certificates. It is for schools to decide whether to accept a previously issued DBS certificate.

DBS offer an online Update Service that reduces the need for individuals who subscribe to the service to apply for multiple checks to work with different organisations. Where the individual consents, a school can use the service to carry out a free online check to confirm if the information released on the DBS certificate is up-to-date. This helps shorten the time taken by employers to decide on suitability. DBS checks and subscription to the Update Service are free for those in unpaid roles.