Frequently Asked Questions

This page is for volunteers. Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to volunteering generally. If you have questions about the Volunteer Connect, the database we use to post opportunities on, please see our Volunteer Connect FAQs.

If you cannot find the answer to a question you have about volunteering, send us an email at or give us a call on 0300 365 9930.

Yes. You should be able to claim Job Seekers Allowance as long as you remain available for and are actively seeking work. Income Support, Incapacity Benefit and Disability Living Allowance should all remain unaffected.

For more information about volunteering whilst claiming benefits, please visit the website.

Most organisations pay reasonable 'out of pocket' expenses, these cover travelling costs and possibly lunch if you volunteer for a full day. Not all organisations are in a position to pay expenses so it is important to confirm this with the organisation before you commence your volunteer placement.

For more information about expenses, please visit the website.

What is the difference between a CRB and a DBS check?

The main difference is that a DBS check is tranferrable so volunteers will not have to apply for a new check every time they volunteer with a new organisation in a role that requires a DBS check.

On 1st December 2012, the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The new system will replace the old CRB checking service and will launch in the next few months.

Do I need a DBS check to volunteer?

It depends on the kind of volunteering role you are doing. If you volunteering brings you into close contact with young people under 18 or vulnerable adults (older people or people with physical or mental disabilities) then you will require a DBS check. It is the responsibility of the organisation you are volunteering with to apply for a DBS check for you and they will let you know if it is required or not.

Why do I need a DBS check?

DBS checks are used in the voluntary sector to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work that involves children or vulnerable adults.

The CRB was established under of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002, following public concern about the safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Does it cost anything to get a DBS certificate?

The service is free for volunteers.

I have an exisiting CRB check, do I need to do anything?

No. Your existing CRB is still valid. If you ever go onto volunteer at a new organisation in a role that requires a DBS certificate, you will acquire a DBS certificate that will then be portable.

For full information about DBS checks please visit the website.

All information correct at time of publication.