The FA is implementing temporary changes to DBS checks in grassroots football for the period that football is suspended during 2020-21 season, due to government COVID-19 restrictions. These changes are outlined below and will apply to all roles in grassroots football.
This decision has been made in light of the current cessation of football activity, the demand on the DBS service due to the current health crisis, as well as challenges regarding document ID verification, at this time. It factors in the wider safeguarding arrangements The FA has in place including our network of individuals with a dedicated safeguarding role within The FA, County FA’s, Leagues and Clubs along with strong relationships built with statutory agencies.
1. All individuals 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 requirement remains in place. However, we ask that new DBS checks are not submitted whilst grassroots 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 and had confirmation from The FA of an accepted DBS check. The FA will update on the processing of new DBS checks, when there is further clarity from the government on when football activity will resume.
2. Individuals whose DBS checks are due to expire between 1 October 2020 and 31 May 2021 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, the fact that these individuals already hold a DBS check which has been accepted by The FA and the current government restrictions on being able to meet in-person to check or validate ID documents.
2a. The FAs proposed end date for extending checks is 31 May 2021, to ensure that if football does resume this season, the focus will be on those new to football completing a DBS in the first instance and that those who have DBS expiring outside of this extension period are prioritised for DBS renewal which is a requirement for club affiliation and referee registration.
However, as circumstances develop, this date is potentially subject to change.
2b. The FA’s proposals outlined above are applicable to all DBS checks completed through The FA.
2c. The FA’s Whole Game System will be updated to reflect these changes.
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 coronavirus pandemic and further clarity on when football activity will resume. These changes continue to support safer working practices in grassroots football, as well as supporting an effective return to grassroots football when government guidance allows, which will in turn we trust benefit the physical and mental health and wellbeing of youth and adult players.
*Please also note, DBS checks that were previously extended during the period 1 March - 1 October 2020 will not be extended again, therefore, these individuals will still be required to submit a renewal based on their revised expiration date.
NB: This advice applies to all grassroots DBS checks completed through The FA. Professional Clubs, CCOs or Community Trusts still operating at this time may request DBS checks, if they wish, in accordance with their current policies.