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Disclosure checks

As part of our wider commitment to safeguarding, volunteers and service providers at the MS Society may be required to have a disclosure check as part of their recruitment process.

See Group Handbook C2: Disclosure checks

  1. Who needs a disclosure check?
  2. Disclosure rules
  3. Your Coordinating Team
  4. Disclosure where you are
  5. If an applicant has a criminal record
  6. Disclosure on the Portal

Who needs a disclosure check?

Volunteers

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. This list of roles varies, depending on where you are in the UK.

  1. Find out who needs a disclosure check where you are

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 service users.

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Disclosure rules

  • Volunteers and service providers must not start in a role, or provide a service requiring a disclosure check until the process has been completed, and must not continue if they have not renewed their check.

  • 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. Your Coordinating Team may decide to cover this fee.

  • Disclosure checks must be renewed every three years.

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Your Coordinating Team

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.

Whenever you recruit a new volunteer, or an existing volunteer changes role, make sure you contact the Supporter Care Team to update our central volunteer database.

  1. Find out more about Your Coordinating Team
  2. Get contact details for our Supporter Care Team

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Disclosure where you are

Roles that require a disclosure check, and the process you must follow vary, depending on where you are in the UK. We have separate policies and procedures for England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

  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).

  1. Go to our Disclosure policy and procedure – England and Wales

Who needs a disclosure check in England and Wales?

In England and Wales, all volunteers who take on tasks included in these role descriptions must complete a disclosure check before getting started:

Disclosure process in England and Wales

  • When your group recruits a volunteer or a service provider in a role or activity that requires a disclosure check, contact our Disclosure Team to request an application form, or to check an existing disclosure certificate.

  • 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 uses the pre-paid envelope provided to submit their application form and identity check form to our Disclosure Team. If they are a service provider, they must also enclose payment.

  • We send the application form to the DBS who will process it.

  • The DBS sends the disclosure certificate to the applicant and informs us.

  • If a disclosure certificate is returned with a disclosure on it, the process is not finished until the applicant has sent in their certificate and we have completed any necessary risk assessment.

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

  • If an applicant has lived outside the UK for a significant period of time, they may have to complete additional checks. Our Disclosure Team will provide the necessary information if this is the case.

Need support?

Our Disclosure Team is here to support the disclosure process in England, Scotland and Wales.

  1. Get contact details for our Disclosure Team

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Northern Ireland

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

  1. Go to our Disclosure policy and procedure – Northern Ireland

Who needs a disclosure check in Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, all volunteers who take on tasks included in these role descriptions must complete a disclosure check before getting started:

Disclosure process in Northern Ireland

  • 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 the Day Centre Manager (DCM) at our Resource Centre, Belfast.

  • Our 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 your Group Coordinator that the disclosure check has been completed and the applicant is suitable to volunteer or provide services.

Need support?

Your Local Networks Officer (LNO) is here to support the disclosure process in Northern Ireland.

  1. Get contact details for your Local Networks Officer (LNO)

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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.

  1. Go to our Disclosure policy and procedure – Scotland

Who needs a disclosure check in Scotland?

In Scotland, all volunteers who take on tasks included in these role descriptions must complete a disclosure check before getting started:

Disclosure process in Scotland

  • 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.

Need support?

Our Disclosure Team is here to support the disclosure process in England, Scotland and Wales.

  1. Get contact details for our Disclosure Team

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If an applicant has a criminal record

Having a criminal record does not automatically prevent anyone from volunteering with us.

If a disclosure certificate is returned with a record, a risk assessment will be carried out. As part of that process, our Head of Volunteering may contact the applicant to discuss the result.

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

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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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