Safe recruitment of volunteers

Safe recruitment of volunteers

Safe recruitment of volunteers


Recruitment process

It is best practice to adopt the following recruitment process:

1. Where possible, the vacant role should be advertised as widely as possible to ensure all suitable candidates have an opportunity to apply.

2. A job description must be produced and provided to all applicants. The job description must include:

  • Responsibilities of the role
  • Level of experience or qualifications required (e.g. experience of working with children is an advantage, coaching qualifications etc.)
  • The aims of the club
  • The FAW's open and positive stance on the protection of children

3. All applicants whether for paid or voluntary, full or part-time positions should complete an application form which shall include the following information:

  • Name, address and National Insurance Number (to confirm identity and right to work), as well as an official document containing a photograph of the individual concerned for further confirmation of identity (Passport or Driving Licence for example)
  • Relevant experience, qualifications and training undertaken
  • Listing of past career or involvement in sport (to confirm experience and identify any gaps)
  • Whether the applicants are known to any social services department as being an actual or potential risk to children or adults at risk
  • The names of at least two people (not relatives) willing to provide written references that comment on the applicant's previous experience of, and suitability for; working with children (e.g. previous employer)
  • Any former involvement with the sport
  • The applicant's consent to criminal record checks being undertaken if necessary
  • The applicant's consent to abide by all FAW Rules, Regulations, Policies and Codes
How to create a club DBS account and sign up as the administrator? 

The WSA provides a DBS checking service for sport and leisure through their trading arm Vibrant Nation

The WSA online system allows clubs to complete DBS checks via the portal without the need to complete any paper forms. The process allows for more streamlined approach as forms with errors cannot be submitted, thus reducing the need for information ‘chasing’ by the DBS.

DBS checks are free of charge for all volunteers and the FAW will cover the £4.00 admin fee for each DBS application submitted. For paid staff, an enhanced DBS check will cost £44.00. 

Clubs must appoint an administrator of the system who will oversee the DBS checks. It is preferred that the club Safeguarding Officer takes on this role. In  order to be registered as club administrator, an individual must have a valid DBS check in place. 

Should a club wish to be added to the system, the appointed administrator will need to send the following information to

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Comet ID
  • Address
  • Club
  • Role in the club
  • Contact number
  • Email address
  • Do you consent to us sharing our club, name and email address to individual who may need ID verification for their DBS check not be processed?

The administrator will then be contacted by the Welsh Sports Association with their access details and guidance on how to complete the DBS checks. Should you require support through the process, please refer to the WSA website to find a dedicated DBS helpline.

Useful link for guidance on how to complete the DBS applications:  Vibrant Nation - DBS Guidance Video - YouTube

Guidance notes on the system: Vibrant Nation - WSA - DBS Guidance Notes

Who needs a DBS check?

It is a requirement that all mini and junior coaches and club personnel who come into contact with children have a a valid enhanced DBS check for regulated activity.

Please ensure you submit an application for enhanced DBS check for regulated activity for the following roles to enable the FAW Safeguarding Team to provide clearance for junior football related activity:

  • Safeguarding officers
  • Coaches
  • Managers
  • First Aiders
  • Team Helpers

Please note that it is not compulsory to submit DBS checks for the following, however these roles must still be registered on COMET:

  • Club Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Committee members

The following role is required to have an enhanced DBS check only:

  • Match officials
What are the stages of the DBS check process?

Stage 1
The DBS application is received and validated

Stage 2
The Police computer is searched

Stage 3
The application is checked against the Children or Adults’ Barred List (if requested)

Stage 4
The DBS arrives with an applicant’s local police force, who then verifies it against their criminal record.

Stage 5
The DBS certificate is printed.

How long do DBS applications take to be processed?

DBS checks can often be completed within as little as 72 hours and the results are then immediately visible for the FAW Safeguarding Team and club administrators. However please note that some DBS applications can stay on stage 4 for up to 60 days. Due to an agreement between the DBS and local police forces, an escalation request cannot be raised until after this 60 day period and  therefore we advise that DBS checks are submitted three months prior to a DBS expiring. Individuals should not be involved in mini or junior football related activity until they have a valid DBS check in place. 

How can you track a DBS application?

Please use the following link to track a DBS application. You will need the DBS application reference number and date of birth of the applicant. 

DBS tracking service

What should applicants do once they receive their DBS certificate? 

The Safeguarding Team will receive a weekly list of completed DBS checks. 

- For clear DBS certificates - The FAW Safeguarding Team do not require a copy of the DBS certificate and Comet will be updated as soon as possible. Please ensure the individual has a comet profile when submitting the DBS application to prevent any delays in us adding the DBS check.

- For DBS certificates with content (i.e. criminal record)- the applicant is required to send a copy of the DBS certificate in its entirety to the FAW Safeguarding Team to complete a risk assessment and determine if clearance can be issued. Please note that failure to provide us with a copy of the DBS certificate will result in a non-complaince suspension. Please request that the applicant sends a copy of the DBS certificate in to

As club administrator/safeguarding officer, do I need to see the DBS certificate?

No. Its the responsibility of the FAW Safeguarding team to complete an assessment and therefore in order for the individual to be provided with clearance for junior football related activity, the individual must send it into the FAW. The club are not responsible for completing an assessment. 

How to change over administrator of the club DBS account?

If a club would like to change over administrator of the club DBS account, the individual who will be stepping into the role must email us the  necessary details (as requested above) to enable us to request a change of administrator with the WSA. 


As an organisation using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, the Football Association of Wales (FAW) complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes to treat all applicants for positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of conviction or other information revealed.

The FAW is committed to the fair treatment of its staff, potential staff or users of its services, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or parental status, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or offending background.

This is a written policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders, which is available to anyone in the recruitment process or who has an interest in this Policy.

We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills, and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications, and experience.

A Disclosure is only requested after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a Disclosure is required, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that a Disclosure will be requested in the event of the individual being offered the position.

Where a Disclosure is to form part of the recruitment process, we encourage all applicants called for interview to provide details of their criminal record at an early stage in the application process. We guarantee that this information is only seen by those who need to see it as part of the recruitment process.

Unless the nature of the position allows the FAW to ask questions about your entire criminal record we only ask about "unspent" convictions as defined in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

We ensure that all those in the FAW who are involved in the recruitment process have knowledge of the relevant legislation relating to the employment of ex-offenders and are able to assess the relevance and circumstances of offences to the position applied for. 

At interview, or in a separate discussion, we ensure that an open and measured discussion takes place on the subject of any offences or other matter that might be relevant to the position. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought could lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment.

At any time, any subject of a DBS check may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

We undertake to discuss any matter revealed in a Disclosure with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment.

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of your offences.

To access the FAW hanbook, please click on the following link: FAW Handbook-Policy on the Recruitment of Ex-Offenders


The FAW recognises that checks are only part of the process to protect children and adults from possible abuse. Appropriate training will enable individuals to recognise their responsibilities about their own good practice and the reporting of suspected poor practice/concerns of possible abuse.

It is a requirement that all those working with children receive training appropriate to their role. Please click on the following link to access the Club Accreditation Scheme which sets out what qualifications are required for each role:

It is best practice for all those working with children to receive training in the following areas:

  • Safeguarding Children awareness
  • First aid
  • Coaching children – child development; coaching styles; long term player development; etc.
  • Working with children with disabilities.
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