FAQ Criminal Records Document Check - British Gymnastics
  Do you have a query about Criminal Record Document Checks? See if our FAQs below answer your question.

General Questions

What is a criminal record check?
What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?
What are the different levels of criminal record checks?
What is regulated activity with children?
Are criminal record checks compulsory?
For how long are criminal record checks valid?
I am involved in two clubs. Do I need to complete a separate disclosure application for each club?

Eligibility Questions

Who in gymnastics needs to have a criminal record check?
Do Judges need a criminal record check?

Administration Questions

How do I apply for a criminal record check?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?
What is the definition of a ‘volunteer’?
What is defined as a paid position?
Who should check my documents of identification?
Do I need to send in any ID documents to BG?
Which applicants will be required to send in their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate?

Disputing disclosure content

What should I do if my disclosure has content?
What happens if there is content on a disclosure?
My convictions are all minor and happened a long time ago. Will it affect my role in the sport?
Why have I been asked to contact BG to discuss my disclosure?
Who will BG need to contact about content on my disclosure?
Will having a previous conviction/caution prevent me from working or volunteering within British Gymnastics?
Who will see the content of my disclosure?
Can I challenge the content on my criminal record check?

Update Service

What is the DBS Update Service?
How do applicants access the Update Service?
What happens if I already have a current DBS check with another organisation?

Further advice and assistance

Who can clubs contact for further help and advice?

General Questions

Q. What is a criminal records check?

A. A criminal record check provides impartial and confidential information on the criminal history of the applicant. The type of information that is disclosed will depend on the requested level of the check. A criminal records check can be requested by organisations as a key part of safe recruitment or to assess an individual’s ongoing suitability in certain jobs or voluntary work including working with children or vulnerable adults. The following bodies provide access to criminal record checks in the UK:

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) (England and Wales)
Disclosure Scotland (Scotland)
Access NI (Northern Ireland).
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Q. What is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)?

A. DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and started operating on 1st December 2012. The DBS carries out the functions previously undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for England and Wales (criminal record checks in Northern Ireland are managed by Access NI) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Disclosure Scotland manages a separate scheme for Scotland.
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Q. What are the different levels of criminal record checks?

A. There are four levels of checks: 

  • Basic check (available to anyone in the UK via Access NI or Disclosure Scotland only),
  • Standard check
  • Enhanced check
  • Enhanced with Barred List check

In Scotland, the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme replaces enhanced disclosures for those working with vulnerable groups (children and protected adults).  

Q. What is regulated activity with children?

A. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (England and Wales) introduced the concept of Regulated Activity to include specific activities, carried out frequently or intensively. The Protection of Freedoms Act, 2012 amended the definition to require the activity to be unsupervised. The definition of regulated activity is important as it defines roles that can be checked against the appropriate barring list and is work that anyone included on the list must not undertake.  

Regulated Activity in relation to children is: 

a)      Unsupervised* and
b)      Once a week or more, or 4 days in any 30 day period, or overnight and
c)      In a specific role OR in a specified place, (see below):


Specific Child-Related Roles include supervising, caring, teaching, training, instructing, providing advice/guidance on wellbeing and driving a vehicle solely for children.

Specified places include educational institutions (e.g. school, under-18 further education college, nursery, children’s hospital, children’s homes and childcare premises

OR

•A day-to-day manager or supervisor of somebody engaging in Regulated Activity. 

* Supervision must be: 
•Regular; 
•Day-to-Day; 
•Reasonable in all circumstances for protecting children; and 
•Carried out by someone in Regulated Activity.

A similar definition for regulated activity applies in Northern Ireland introduced by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 and subsequently amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 provided the legal framework to introduce the PVG Scheme. Membership of the PVG Scheme is open to anyone in ‘regulated work’

By way of a summary regulated work is defined by four basic principles:

•It has to be work, (paid or unpaid) i.e. not simply an arrangement between friends/family
•It has to be with either children/young people, (or protected adults)
•It has to be part of normal duties i.e. the activity is reasonably anticipated and could appear on the person’s job description
•The work has to include:

  • caring for children/young people
  • teaching, instructing, training or supervising children/young people
  • being in sole charge of children/young people
  • having unsupervised access to children/young people


In addition, the role of managing a person in regulated work is also considered to meet the definition of regulated work. Contact Scottish Gymnastics if you require further information on the PVG Scheme.
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Q. Are DBS checks compulsory?

A. Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 places the following legal requirements on organisations including gymnastics clubs:

•To not knowingly allow a barred person to work in ‘Regulated Activity’;
•To inform the DBS if an individual is removed from ‘Regulated Activity’ because they have harmed or because they pose a risk of harm to vulnerable groups (including children).

A criminal records check will confirm whether an individual is included on a barred list.

BG members in regulated activity are required to complete an enhanced DBS with barring list check through BG every three years. BG considers that by virtue of the fact that gymnastics clubs primarily cater for children; coaches and welfare officers are considered to be undertaking regulated activity and will therefore be required by BG to complete an enhanced DBS and barred list check for the child workforce. Anyone who believes they do not fall within the scope of regulated activity should contact the Safeguarding and Compliance Department for guidance.

It is the responsibility of the affiliated organisation to assess all other roles within their organisation to determine whether a criminal record check is required and the appropriate level in line with BG Criminal Record Checks Policy & Guidance.
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Q. For how long are DBS checks valid?

A. DBS checks have no period of validity as the information on the Disclosure is a snap shot in time at the date that the check was completed and must be seen as just one part of a safe recruitment process. However, BG requires that clubs get their employees and volunteers re-checked every three years or register for the DBS Update Service. It is advised to renew in the third year, rather than let it run out.
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Q. I am involved in two clubs. Do I need to complete a separate disclosure application for each club?

A. No. A criminal record check carried out by BG is transferable between all BG affiliated clubs. If you move to a new club, the club will be able to link you to their club which will enable them to see the expiry date of your criminal record check. However, clubs are entitled to request new staff or volunteers in eligible positions to complete a new criminal records check.  
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Eligibility Questions

Q. Who in gymnastics needs to have a criminal record check?

A. BG requires affiliated organisations to ensure all their employees and volunteers over the age of 16, who meet the definition of regulated activity complete a criminal record check for the relevant workforce. BG also recommends that affiliated organisations carry out an enhanced check for any other eligible positions. 

The following roles are considered by BG to fall within the scope of Regulated Activity. BG members who are insured in any of these capacities are required by BG to have a DBS Enhanced criminal record check with relevant workforce Barred List check:

•Coaches including assistants
•Welfare Officers. 

BG advises that clubs refer to the DBS Flowchart to ascertain frequency of contact and DBS requirements for the following roles:

•Choreographers;
•Anyone supervising children (if meeting frequency requirements)
•Anyone providing overnight supervision/care, e.g. Heads of Delegation, Chaperones, Host Families;
•Medical staff including physiotherapists, psychologists, nutritionists, first aiders etc; 
•Anyone providing transport for children on behalf of a club/organisation;
•Roles that involve the day-to-day management or supervision of somebody engaging in Regulated Activity; 

Affiliated organisations must only request checks for roles with children and/or adults at risk.  

Affiliated organisations must also ensure the individual will meet any relevant frequency requirements.  If anyone does one of the above roles on a regular basis, but does not meet the frequency requirements set out in the definition of Regulated Activity, they should be asked to complete an Enhanced check without Barring List.

Individuals must not be asked to apply for a check unless the job or role is eligible for one. Employers/Clubs must tell the applicant why they’re being checked and where they can get independent advice.

The BG DBS flowchart will assist you in determining the level of check required.
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Q. Do Judges need a DBS?

A. BG does not require judges to complete a criminal record check to judge at BG competitions, as the role that judges fulfil at the event no longer falls within DBS or Access NI Eligibility*. However, some judges are actively involved in club gymnastics and may provide judging instruction to children in a training environment or carry out a supervisory role (or may complete a criminal record check by virtue of another role they undertake e.g. coach).  As not all judges use their qualification in the same way, it is the club’s responsibility to assess the role the judge is undertaking and determine whether the activities involved fall within the eligibility criteria for a criminal record check. 

* As there is a wider eligibility criteria for criminal records checks in Scotland, Judges who are involved in Scottish competitions should refer to Scottish Gymnastics for further guidance as to whether a check is required.
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Administration Questions

Q. How do I apply for a criminal record check?

A. BG provides a DBS online service provided by The Media Group (GBG online disclosures). All DBS applications should now be made through the online service. All BG Designated Persons and Registered Clubs have been sent information on activating their online service along with the activation PIN. 

BG is no longer accepting DBS paper applications unless prior agreement has been sought from the BG DBS Administrator.

Access NI applications are online only.
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Q. How long does it take?

A. An average DBS check made through the online service takes 7 days. Until such time as clearance is confirmed by BG that the individual will not be able to undertake the role applied for, but may remain in a supervised role for a maximum of 3 months.

AccessNI applications can take between 4 and 7 days to process.
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Q. How much does it cost?

A. BG charges a £20.00 administration fee for carrying out a DBS check for a volunteer. If an individual is in a paid position, the cost of the DBS check is £64.00. This is made up of £44.00 DBS fee and the £20.00 BG administration fee. BG affiliated organisations may request checks for non-BG members without additional charge.

The charges for Access NI checks are as follows:

•Volunteers £15.00 (Administration fee)
•Paid Positions £48.00 (£33.00 Access NI fee plus £15 Administration fee)


For cost regarding a Scottish Disclosure please contact Scottish Gymnastics directly.
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Q. What is the definition of a ‘volunteer’?

A. A volunteer is defined as a person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than or in addition to a close relative. Work placement students required to carry out a role as part of their course are not defined as volunteers as their involvement will lead to employment.
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Q. What is defined as a paid position?

A. A paid position would include any role where there is any form of payment for the services provided, even if that payment is a minimal amount or comes in a different form e.g. free training sessions. 
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Q. Who should check my documents of identification?

A. A DBS/Access NI Designated Person. There is one in most BG registered clubs. Original identification documents must be produced as photocopies will not be accepted. Contact BG Customer Services if you require further details on Designated Persons.

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Q. Do I need to send in any ID documents to BG?

A. Do not send your ID documents into BG; we do not check your documents. They need to be taken to a DBS/Access NI Designated Person in order that their sections of the online application can be completed.
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Q. Which applicants will be required to send in their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate?

A. Paper DBS Applications

All applicants that complete a paper DBS application will be required to send BG the original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate within 21 days of receipt. Pending receipt of an original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate the individual shall not be permitted to undertake a role in Regulated Activity but may remain in a supervised role for a maximum of 6 weeks.

Online DBS Applications

Applicants that complete an online application through the BG online service provided by GBG online disclosures will not be required to forward their DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate unless, it is indicated that the DBS Disclosure has content on it.  If a DBS Disclosure has content, the individual will be contacted requesting that he/she send in the original DBS Enhanced Disclosure Certificate within 28 days. Failure to comply with this request may result in the applicant being suspended from BG.
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Disputing content

Q. What should I do if my disclosure has content?

A. If your disclosure contains a conviction, caution, warning or reprimand or Chief Officer comment; the DBS original certificate should be sent to the BG Ethics & Welfare Coodinator.
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Q. What happens if there is content on a disclosure?

A. BG will conduct a risk assessment on any disclosure with content. 
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Q. My convictions are all minor and happened a long time ago. Will it affect my role in the sport?

A. On the 29 May, legislation came into force that allows certain old and minor cautions and convictions to no longer be subject to disclosure under the Exceptions Order. The DBS uses the term ‘filtering’ to describe this process. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found on the Disclosure and Barring Service website

Access NI introduced filtering in April 2014. For more information can be found at the NI Department of Justice website

Any information that is disclosed is assessed for its relevancy in terms of an individual’s suitability to work with children.  The type of information that may be considered relevant would include recent convictions for assault, violent offences, custodial sentences, sexual offences and drug offences. 
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Q. Why have I been asked to contact BG to discuss my disclosure?

A. A disclosure certificate only contains the basic information (offence and outcome) relating to each incident; there are no details about the circumstances of each offence. In order to conduct a thorough risk assessment, BG requires some background information to be able to decide whether or not the offence(s) is/are relevant.
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Q. Who will BG need to contact about content on my disclosure?

A. In cases where the convictions are serious and an initial risk assessment suggests that there is a medium to high risk to children, BG may need permission to speak to professional agencies such as the probation service, social services etc. in order to finalise its risk assessment. BG will always ask for permission before taking this course of action.
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Q. Will having a previous conviction/caution prevent me from working or volunteering within British Gymnastics?

A. Having a criminal record will not usually prevent an individual from working or volunteering within BG.  BG will follow its risk assessment policy and consider the relevancy in respect of safeguarding children and an individual’s suitability to work with children. BG is very fair and will only consider information that may have an impact on children.

Please refer to the BG Recruitment of Ex-offenders Policy, contained within the BG Criminal Record Checks Policy & Guidance.
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Q. Who will see the content of my disclosure?

A. Your disclosure will only be seen by members of BG staff who are responsible for processing applications or assessing disclosures for the purposes of reaching a decision on suitability. Original certificates or copies are securely stored and will only be retained for as long as is required to make the recruitment/suitability decision. For further information, please refer to the BG Policy on Secure Storage, Handling, Use, Retention & Disposal of Disclosure Information contained within the BG Criminal Record Checks Policy & Guidance.
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Q. Can I challenge the content revealed on my criminal records check?

A. Yes. If you think there is an error with your DBS check or you do not agree with any of the information then please call DBS directly on 0870 90 90 778. Disputes must be raised with the DBS within three months of the date of issue of the Disclosure.
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Update Service

Q.  What is the DBS Update Service?

A. The Update Service allows individuals to reuse their DBS certificate when applying for similar jobs within the same workforce (child workforce, adult workforce or both).

Registration for the Update Service can only be applied for when completing a new DBS application and must be done within 19 days of the issue date on the certificate.

There is a small annual subscription of £13 for paid roles but the Update Service is free for volunteers.  
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Q.  How do applicants access the Update Service?

A. Anyone who wishes to use the Update Service must provide BG with written consent to carry out status checks using a BG consent form. Individuals who are not currently registered through the Update Service must register for the service on application or receipt of a criminal records check.

For online applications, registration for the Update Service can be completed as soon as an applicant has their application form reference number. Alternatively, registration can be done within 19 days of the disclosure certification being issued; using the certificate number. The Update Service is free of charge to volunteers. Those who are employed must pay an annual fee, (currently £13).

Benefits to applicants

•Saves applicants time and money.
•One DBS Certificate is all applicants may ever need.
•Take their DBS Certificate from role to role within the same workforce.
•Applicants are in control of their DBS Certificate.
•Get ahead of the rest and apply for jobs DBS pre-checked.

Further information on this service including applicant guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/dbs
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Q. What happens if I already have a current DBS check with another organisation?

A. Since the introduction of the DBS Update Service on 17th June 2013, applicants can choose to register with the Update Service. This allows DBS Certificates to be reused when applying for similar jobs within the same workforce (child workforce, adult workforce or child and adult workforce) and reduces the burden on employers.

Anyone registered for the update service must send their original disclosure certificate to BG, together with a completed BG consent form.

Applicants who are not registered with the Update Service or whose disclosure is not the required level or workforce must complete a new DBS application.

Access NI does not currently offer this service so their disclosures are not portable.
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Further advice and assistance

Q. Who can clubs contact for further help and advice?

A. If you require further information please contact Customer Service on 0345 129 7 129 ext 2395 or email [email protected] Alternatively you may wish to contact the DBS information line on 0870 90 90 844 or visit their website at www.gov.uk/dbs. Please also refer to the DBS’s Code of Practice, which can also be found on their website.
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