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Disclosure checks

What is a disclosure check?

Disclosure checks help us to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying people who shouldn't have roles that involve contact with children or vulnerable adults; this can include adults with multiple sclerosis (MS) when they take part in certain activities.

See Group Handbook C2: Disclosure checks

Your disclosure responsibilities

Staff, volunteers and service providers in certain roles must have a disclosure check as part of their recruitment process.

Your Coordinating Team is responsible for making sure that anyone who volunteers for your group completes a disclosure check before they start their role, if required.

  1. Find out more about Your Coordinating Team

Who needs to be checked?

Group roles

If your volunteer role involves contact with adults with MS when they take part in certain activities, you must complete a disclosure check before taking up the role:

Service providers

Individuals who provide services on behalf of your group (service providers) may also need to be checked. This includes, but is not limited to, physiotherapists, counsellors and others who work with individual service users.

Whenever your group provides a service, you need to complete a risk assessment. Our risk management system specifies whether a service provider needs a disclosure check before they start.

  1. Find out more about our Risk management system

Disclosure checks are free of charge for volunteers, but service providers must pay for their disclosure check, in the same way that they pay for their own insurance and any professional registration they hold.

The disclosure process

The disclosure process your group needs to follow depends on where you are in the UK:

  1. England and Wales
  2. Northern Ireland
  3. Scotland

England and Wales

In England and Wales, disclosure checks are provided by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

  • When your group recruits a volunteer or a service provider in a role or activity that requires a disclosure check, contact the Central Administration Team at disclosure@mssociety.org.uk to request an application form.

  • The applicant completes the application form and provides three identity documents from the list included in the application pack.

  • A member of your Coordinating Team witnesses that the three identity documents confirm the applicant’s identity.

  • The applicant submits their application form and identity check form. If they are a service provider, they must also enclose payment.

  • The Disclosure and Barring Service sends the disclosure certificate to the applicant and informs us.

  • We add disclosure details to the Portal and inform the applicant and the Group Coordinator that the disclosure check has been completed and the applicant is suitable to volunteer or provide services.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, disclosure checks are provided by Access NI.

  • When your group recruits a volunteer or a service provider in a role or activity that requires a disclosure check, contact your Local Networks Officer (LNO) to request an application form.

  • The applicant completes the application form and provides three identity documents from the list included in the application pack. If they are a service provider, they must also enclose payment.

  • Your LNO checks the applicant’s identity documents and forwards the completed application to our Day Centre Manager (DCM) at the Resource Centre, Belfast.

  • The DCM witnesses that the three identity documents confirm the applicant’s identity and submits the application to Access NI.

  • Access NI sends the disclosure certificate to the applicant and informs us.

  • We add disclosure details to the Portal and inform the applicant and the Group Coordinator that the disclosure check has been completed and the applicant is suitable to volunteer or provide services.

Scotland

In Scotland, volunteer disclosure checks are provided by the Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG) and administered by Volunteer Scotland. Service providers must arrange and pay for their own disclosure checks.

  • Your Coordinating Team agrees on a Nominated Lead Person to have the task of dealing with disclosure applications added to their role description.

  • When your group recruits a volunteer in a role or activity that requires a disclosure check, your Nominated Lead Person contacts your Local Networks Officer (LNO) to request an application form.

  • The volunteer completes the application form and provides three identity documents from the list included in the application pack.

  • Your Nominated Lead Person checks the three identity documents confirm the applicant’s identity and submits the completed application to your LNO.

  • Your LNO witnesses that the three identity documents confirm the applicant’s identity and submits the completed application to Volunteer Scotland for processing.

  • Volunteer Scotland sends the disclosure certificate to the applicant and informs us.

  • We add disclosure details to the Portal and inform the applicant and your Nominated Lead Person that the disclosure check has been completed and the applicant is suitable to volunteer.

If an applicant has a criminal record

The purpose of disclosure checks is to identify people who shouldn't have roles that involve contact with children or vulnerable adults. This does not mean that a person can not volunteer with us if they have a criminal record.

We do not discriminate against people with spent convictions. If a disclosure check identifies a spent conviction, our Head of Volunteering will discuss the result with the applicant and complete a risk assessment to decide how to proceed.

  1. See Our values for more on our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.
  2. Get contact details for our Head of Volunteering

Disclosure on the Portal

The ‘volunteers’ tab on the Portal is our record of all MS Society volunteers delivering impact throughout the UK. This is where we track disclosure checks, from initial application through to receipt of certificate.

If you volunteer in an authorised role, you can use the Portal to check the progress of a disclosure application.

  1. Find out more about using the Portal

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