Many queries on the subject of the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau) procedure have been received recently. The following endeavours to cover the subject from an EBCS perspective only and how it impacts our members. Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact Carol Watt-Sullivan at [email protected]

Although the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 has been recently passed (it updates the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006) it is gradually being enacted.  By the end of 2012 the Criminal Record Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Agency will become the DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service). From September 2012 the requirement on who needs a DBS Clearance has come into effect with the aim of reducing the number of people requiring a DBS.

Those Coaches who regularly work with Children and Adults at Risk will still require a DBS Clearance at Enhanced Level, particularly if they are the lead coach for the sessions and supervising others.  Those coaches/ volunteers who help on these sessions may not need a clearance (this depends on the club doing a risk assessment as to how far the lead coach is able to adequately supervise [by way of overview] the other rinks in use), but might be requested to do so by their club.  It is suggested that any club with sessions which teach and coach children or vulnerable adults ensure that they have sufficient coaching staff with DBSs to ensure that should a coach with a DBS Clearance not be able to coach at a session, that there is always another coach to take over being in charge.

More detailed information can also be found on the Safeguarding web-site for the Family of Bowls – under the heading DBS Procedures or

What is it (DBS Procedure)?

It is a procedure where you pay an agency a fee to search the records of the Disclosure and Barring Service and determine if you have any criminal convictions. Having ascertained that you have not then they issue you with a certificate stating this fact which you can then produce if requested to by any group or location where you are coaching. It is used primarily as a safeguard to assure organisations that you are a trustworthy person to work with Children & Adults at Risk. It is recommended that you renew it every three years. It also acts as a good security measure for you as well so it is well worth having even from a self-protection viewpoint.

Do we need to do it as Coaches?

Some local authorities will not allow you to coach on their premises (indoor at leisure centres or their outdoor greens) unless you can produce a current certificate.

The EBCS Constitution & Bye Laws state under Bye Laws point 1.4 Protection of Children & Adults at Risks

“Licensed coaches working with children and vulnerable adults must have attended an EBCS approved Child Protection awareness course and hold an Enhanced Disclosure certificate issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). Such certificates shall be deemed valid for a period of three years from the date of issue. NGB guidelines shall be followed and written parental consents obtained at all times.”  The law does not differentiate between the coach levels, merely that a coach regularly working with children or adults at risk must have a DBS clearance unless under supervision at all times.

What does this mean?

The approved Child Protection awareness course is of course the module contained in the Level 2 syllabus which you will have taken within your training.  In addition, a basic awareness of Child Protection is required at Level 1 (see Manual) in order to keep yourself safe as a Coach and also ensure the safety of any Children or Adults at Risk you are helping.  However, depending on the level of training done, a level 1 coach may have had the approved Child Protection awareness course done before being assessed at Level 1.

Should you still hold an old White Instructors Certificate or an old “Green Certificate” or an old Advanced Certificate and you have not done an upgrade since 2003 then those certificates do not cover you to work with Children & Adults at Risk.

The EBCS does not insist that you must become DBS cleared to work with Adults. You are, however, requested to do so if you are working with Children and Adults at Risk on a regular basis throughout the ‘season’ (i.e. outdoor season or indoor season, as appropriate).  The definition of ‘regular basis’ can be found on the Family of Bowls Safeguarding web-site under Definitions.  The Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU – part of the NSPCC) do recommend that if you are likely to work with children or Adults at Risk at any level of coaching that it is a good idea to have a current DBS.

How do I do obtain a DBS Clearance?

There are several routes available for Coaches licensed with the EBCS, according to the code of Bowls under which you work.  If you need a DBS clearance apply for an Application form.

Application form?

The Application Form comes with a set of explanatory notes to assist you to complete the form. It is not difficult to complete. There are also additional explanatory notes under the Government Home Office DBS web-site.

EBCS Licensed Coaches:

The EBCS have the facility to process DBS Clearances through BCGBA.

Contact Carol Watt-Sullivan, 149 Copers Cope Road, Beckenham Kent BR3 1NZ  quoting your name, club name and reason why you need a form.  A form, along with notes on completion will be despatched to you by first class post.
The cost of DBS through this route is £12 (which is the administration fee to BCGBA).  The DBS itself does not make any charge for volunteer coaches.

Bowls England & EIBA Ltd use GB Group (formerly TMG) as their preferred supplier.  Once a form has been completed Documents are dealt with according to instructions given by BE or EIBA. The cost of a DBS is advised on Application (which is the administration fee to GB Group).

Bowls England – Contact Bowls England office

EIBA Ltd – Contact EIBA HO


DBS Clearances should be renewed every three years in line with the recommendations for sport generally and guidance provided by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU - part of the NSPCC).

Renewals follow exactly the same procedure as above.