Skip to main content

Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

Applied to the NHS volunteer responder scheme and used your DBS check as identity?

So far approximately 750,000 people have volunteered for the NHS volunteer responder scheme which was set up to help provide support to vulnerable adults who are self-isolating.

The voluntary roles available include:

  • Community Response
  • Patient Transport
  • Check in and Chat

The scheme is being coordinated by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

Guidance from RVS states that patient transport roles are the only ones which require an enhanced DBS check. Applicants could however provide any level of DBS certificate as identification for any role (including non-patient transport ones). Where applicants did this, it was assumed that the certificate would only be used for ID purposes and any other information on the certificate would be disregarded.

We were made aware that this was not always the case and that applications for non-patient transport roles were being refused verification due to criminal record information on the DBS certificate. We contacted RVS to raise our concerns.

RVS responded very quickly stating that they had carried out a review of why certain applications had been refused. As a result of this, it had come to light that:

In some cases, a risk assessment based on criminal record data included on a DBS check and, provided for ID purposes, may have been undertaken in relation to non-patient transport roles”.

RVS have confirmed to us that:

  • DBS certificates will no longer be used as valid forms of ID for application purposes; and
  • All DBS checks previously provided for the purposes of ID, which contain certain criminal conviction data, but which do not relate to an exempt role will be deleted, and where necessary, alternative forms of ID will be requested.

As a result of the high numbers of application, recruitment has been temporarily paused but RVS have encouraged anybody whose previous application could not be verified, to re-apply once the registration page re-opens using an alternative form of identification.

A comment from Unlock

If you have applied for a non-patient transport role and provided a DBS certificate as proof of ID, it would have been a reasonable expectation that your criminal record would not be used against you, and it’s disappointing to find that this has not always been the case.

However, it was encouraging to see RVS respond so quickly to the issues raised and to then implement new practices.

If you have previously failed the verification process, we would encourage you to re-apply once recruitment re-opens.


Add Comment
  1. I want to apply for an Enhanced DBS. Please can you advise if iam exempt if iam registered as an NHS Responder volunteer since 2020

    1. Hi Maurice

      As you may be aware, individuals cannot apply for their own standard or enhanced DBS checks (they can only apply for a basic DBS check).

      Every employer or voluntary organisation will have their own policies about the level of DBS check they will be carrying out and how often a check will be needed. Some employers will only do checks at the start of the recruitment process whilst others will do them more regularly. It’s never good practice to hand over a previous DBS certificate to a new employer. If an employer needs you to have one, then they should be the ones to request one.

      I hope this is helpful but feel free to give our helpline a call on 01634 247350 if you require any further information or advice.

      Best wishes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

Do you need help & support with an issue you’re facing?

We provide support and advice for people who need guidance with either their own, or someone else’s, criminal record.

Please use the search box to start typing your issue. If you cannot find an answer to your problem then you’ll be given options to contact us directly.

Find out more about the helpline

We want to make sure that our website is as helpful as possible.

Letting us know if you easily found what you were looking for or not enables us to continue to improve our service for you and others.

Was it easy to find what you were looking for?

Thank you for your feedback.

12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

Help support us now