Safer Recruitment

Volunteers enhance the lives of the people and groups they work with. However, some may not be suited to undertake certain activities such as finance work or working with vulnerable adults and children. A tiny minority of individuals may pose a threat.

Incorporating safer recruitment policies and procedures into your recruitment process will increase positive volunteering outcomes and importantly reduce the levels of risk to service beneficiaries, your organisation and volunteers.

The information on this page summarises ways in which your organisation/group can help to minimise risks and points the way towards more detailed advice and information.


Key points

  • Ensure you have appropriate policies in place for protection of vulnerable adults, children and young people. These are your safeguarding policies
  • Review your policies annually to ensure compliance with current legislation and good practice and to ensure relevant contact details are up to date
  • Ensure all volunteers are familiar with your policies and understand the impact on their roles
  • Determine which roles you are legally required and entitled to request a DBS for
  • Adopt consistent and effective recruitment and selection procedures for all volunteers
  • Adopt work practices and codes of behaviour that minimise risks and protect both users of your group or organisation and workers. Everyone in the organisation should be clear about their role, about what the organisation is trying to achieve and about the accepted codes of behaviour. They should know who they report to
  • Help your volunteers to carry out their duties by providing support and training. Support should include a supervision system for volunteers.
  • Be alert to any exceptional treatment, favourable or unfavourable, of any of your users of your group or organisation.

Declaration of previous convictions

We are currently reviewing in light of GDPR and best practice for Rehabilitation of Offenders

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974


Getting References

Offering trial periods

Make the appointment conditional on the successful completion of a trial period in which you assess the suitability of the new volunteer.

During this period you should offer an induction to help your new volunteer become familiar with the organisation.

If also gives both you and the volunteer the opportunity to decide if this is the right volunteering opportunity for them.

Disclosure and Barring Service

If you are involving volunteers in working with children and young people or vulnerable adults you will need to look carefully at the role and determine the need for additional screening and checking.

It is important to understand when it is necessary to request that someone complete a DBS form. For up to date information on  DBS Disclosure we recommend visiting

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has an impact on:

  • which volunteer roles you will need to carry out criminal record checks for
  • the identification required from volunteers in order to perform the checks
  • the portability of criminal record checks


There can be some confusion as to when it is necessary to complete a DBS check. NCVO have a helpful flowchart.  More information is available on NCVO website.

Locally you can contact Safety Net who provide update bulletins and training on DBS procedures and can help you carry out a check.

Safety Net are also currently running DBS surgeries at Community Works. For more information, visit our webpage ‘One-to-one advice on disclosure and barring service’.

There is some helpful information DBS checks and Asylum Seekers and Refugees on Volunteer Centre Sheffield website

Additional support and information

The Charity Commission provides information on safeguarding children including what to cover in a child protection policy.

The NSPCC provide a range of services concerned with child protection including information on relevant guides and publications.

Brighton and Hove’s Local Safeguarding Children Board  

Local information about safeguarding adults