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Temporary Changes To DBS Checks implemented by the fa

These changes will be implemented for the period football is suspended due to Coronavirus, up to and including the start of the 2020-2021 season.


This decision has been made in light of the current cessation of football activity, difficulties regarding online ID verification for the purposes of renewing a DBS check and demand on the DBS service due to the current health crisis.

1. All volunteers carrying out regulated activity with U18s (in accordance with DBS guidance) require an Enhanced DBS with a check of the Children’s Barring List before they commence their role within football. This is current practice and will remain in place. However, we ask that new DBS checks are not submitted (from today onwards) whilst football activity remains suspended. For the avoidance of doubt, volunteers will not be permitted to carry out regulated activity with U18s until they have obtained a DBS check. The FA will provide a further update on processing new DBS checks in due course when there is further clarity on football activity will resume.

2. All individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 1 October 2020 will not be required to renew their DBS checks until 1 year after the scheduled date of expiry. The FA currently requires DBS checks to be renewed every 3 years in accordance with industry standards and best practice. However, we have made an informed decision to extend that to 4 years, in these limited circumstances, on the basis of the current health crisis and associated difficulties in DBS check renewal and the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA.

a. The FA is currently proposing an end date of 1 October 2020, based on the fact that this season’s grassroots footballing activity has ended and the assumption that pre-season will commence with the start of the youth season starting September 2020. However, as circumstances develop, this date is potentially subject to change.

b. The FA’s proposals outlined above are applicable to all DBS checks completed through The FA.

c. The FA’s Whole Game System will be updated to reflect these changes.

Update 22nd June 2020

Safeguarding Update in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Coaches working with children 

Guidance issued on 1 June following discussion with DCMS, enabled coaches to work with groups of 5 children, with the coach as the 6th person, if the coach had an in-date FA DBS check and there was another adult (this could have been a parent/carer or another coach), in sight of the activity. 

This approach sought to facilitate a gradual start to some football activity in a proportionate way, with an observing adult in sight of the activity, whilst socially distanced and observing. Whilst this was supported by the DCMS, it has become apparent that this position has caused some confusion in respect of ensuring the correct ratio of coaches to children is always adhered to, and that this might lead to challenges for clubs and coaches locally. For this reason, you will see a change to the information now in the public domain. 

Therefore, the guidance issued on 12 June, clarifies this - //www.thefa.com/news/2020/jun/12/grassroots-covid-19-update-120620

Coaches must work on a ratio of one coach to groups of no more than five children in each group (1:5) and there must be a minimum of two FA-DBS-checked adults present at any one time. 

For the avoidance of doubt this means:
if there is only one group, there must be two FA DBS checked adults / coaches, therefore the ratio is 2:4 coaches to children; or 
if there are two or more groups of 5 children, coaches can work on the ratio of 1:5 coaches to children. 

Face-to-face Identity (ID) Document Verification for DBS checks 

The FA have now given the go ahead for DBS applications to be submitted. Please find attached guidance issued by The FA.  Should you have a Welfare Officer that needs to complete or re-new a DBS please ask them to contact Zoe Griffiths.

Clubs are reminded of the procedure for a new DBS applicant in the attached ‘Welfare Officers Manual’. This process will ensure quicker awarding of DBS checks, and remove the risk of duplicate FAN records being created. 

Guidance for Clubs in WGS Portal in light of changes connected with the Covid-19 pandemic

Q - Can I add a Welfare Officer in the Portal Affiliation form without a current FA DBS check? 
A – Yes to allow you to start the process, but you will receive warnings and you will not be able to able to submit the affiliation form. With face-to-face DBS verification now reinstated, you are reminded that all Welfare Officers must have a current FA DBS check. 
Q – Can I add a Welfare Officer in the Portal Affiliation form without a SGW or WOW?
A – Yes, you will receive warnings, but this is allowed, and the affiliation form can be submitted. 
Q – Can I add a Youth Team Manager or Coach in the Portal Affiliation form without an FA DBS?
A – No, with face-to-face FA DBS checks reinstated, all Youth Team Managers and Coaches must have a current FA DBS.
Q – Can I add a new Welfare Officer in the Portal Club Officials page without an FA DBS, SGW or WOW?
A – No, this is not allowed. If you need to have a new Welfare Officer who does not have any of these, you will need to contact your County FA who can support getting the FA DBS check and can record the need for an action plan for the Safeguarding and Welfare Officer Workshops.
Q – Can I add a new Youth Team Manager or Coach in the Portal Team Officials page without an FA DBS?
A – No, this is not allowed. With face-to-face DBS verification now reinstated, all Youth Team Managers and Coaches must have a current FA DBS.

Coach Education

County FAs have been informed that there will be no coach education delivery until January 2021 at the earliest. This includes Safeguarding Children, Emergency Aid and Welfare Officers Workshops.  

Counties  are keen to understand how safeguarding education can be delivered safely and in a timely way and the options for SCW and WOW remain under consideration with FA Learning. This includes the possibility of virtual classroom sessions as an interim position as soon as we can provide further details we will do.  If you have a coach booked on to a course can you please discuss with them the options of waiting until January, or receiving a full refund.  Those coaches that have already secured a place will be given priority when coach education restarts. 

As usual please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any queries relating to the information provided.

Please note that the changes outlined above are temporary, and The FA reserves the right to review and amend the position, including to reflect changes in legislation and/or statutory guidance with respect to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and further clarity on when football activity will resume. The above changes are made to support the footballing family in the immediate term and to support a return to football activity in the longer term whilst ensuring The FA’s commitment to safeguarding remains in place.

For further information on the temporary changes to DBS checks in football, please contact: Safeguarding@Shropshirefa.com.