Is the volunteer engaged in Regulated Activity with Adults?

NCVO has a user-friendly guide to help determine whether a volunteer’s role is classified as Regulated Activity relating to Adults. This should be read in conjunction with the full guidance from the Department for Health.

Activities that place a volunteer in Regulated Activity with Adults:

  1. Healthcare: if they are a regulated health care professional or are acting under the direction or supervision of one (eg doctors, nurses, physiotherapists).
  2. Personal care: assistance with washing and dressing, eating, drinking and toileting or teaching someone to do one of these tasks.
  3. Social work: provision by a social care worker of social work which is required in connection with any health services or social services.
  4. Assistance with a person’s cash, bills or shopping because of their age, illness or disability.
  5. Assistance with the conduct of an adult’s own affairs, eg. lasting or enduring powers of attorney, or deputies appointed under the Mental Health Act.
  6. Conveying adults for reasons of age, illness or disability to, from or between places where they receive healthcare, personal care or social work (excludes friends, family or taxi drivers).

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

Regulated Activity relating to adults identifies the activities which lead to an adult being considered vulnerable at that particular time. As such the setting of the activity and the personal characteristics of the adult are extraneous. There is no requirement for a person to do the activities a certain number of times before they are engaging in Regulated Activity.

Important: It is a criminal offence for organisations to recruit a volunteer who appears on either of the DBS barred lists in Regulated Activity with the group from which they are barred from working. Likewise, it is a criminal offence for a person to seek work, or work in, activities from which they are barred. If you are unsure whether a particular role is eligible for a check you can contact the DBS direct via email or by telephone 03000 200 190.

When volunteers are involved in the regulated activity identified organisations are eligible to request an enhanced DBS with a barred list check.

The Duty to Refer

Organisations must report volunteers to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) who are dismissed or removed from Regulated Activity (or would have been if the person had not already left) because they harmed or posed a risk to an individual. This ‘duty to refer’ overrides any obligation to withhold information on the grounds of confidentiality. It is important organisations know their responsibilities in this regard. Further information can be found in the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Referral Guidance.

Organisations must refer someone to DBS if they:

  • Sacked them because they harmed a child or adult
  • Sacked them or removed them from working in regulated activity because they might have harmed a child or adult otherwise
  • Were planning to sack them for either of these reasons, but the person resigned first.

You can contact the DBS barring ring helpline on 01325 953 795 for help referring someone to DBS.

An employer is breaking the law if they don’t refer someone to DBS for any of these reasons. It is against the law for employers to employ someone or allow them to volunteer for this kind of work if they know they’re on one of the barred lists. 

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