DBS checks for remote or online learning


Is a DBS check required for any adult teaching or delivering workshops via webinars or other forms of online learning?


The definition of Regulated Activity in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 does not state that it only applies where adults and children are physically in the same place. Therefore, it would apply where lessons are being provided remotely by staff. This will come as no surprise and, given they are already staff, the appropriate checks will have been carried out.
The same applies for volunteers in that the law and guidance does not only cover the physical. Therefore, volunteers providing support via video conference or telephone would not be engaging in regulated activity, but unsupervised volunteers would be. In other words, it is the same as if they were providing that support on site.
It is a little more challenging where other third parties provide content either directly to children through video or telephone conferencing, or indirectly via recorded content. If the delivery of the content allows for communication with children – such as a video or telephone conference – then this would be classed as regulated activity if it was done without supervision.

If the content is pre-recorded and simply standard available content, then it is likely that this would not be deemed to be regulated activity and so no checks would be required. However, we would recommend that you carry some level of due diligence on the content itself and the provider to ensure they are suitable for your audience.

Answered by Dai Durbridge, education lawyer at Browne Jacobson LLP.

Last Updated: 
14 Apr 2020

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