Criminality checking for sports and leisure workers

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With the UK sport industry worth around £23 billion and being responsible for nearly a million jobs, it is imperative that those working, volunteering or representing the industry can be trusted to create a fun, educational and safe environment for all those involved.

The leisure and sport industry is fast paced. With a high turnover of staff who might have access to confidential information, money or young or vulnerable people, it is vital that recruit staff who can be trusted. The risk of fraud and theft is constantly growing, and properly screening all candidates will help you minimize the risk of financial loss or damage to your company reputation.

We strongly advise criminality checking as part of your screening process for all candidates within the sport and leisure industry. But in some cases, it’s not just prudent, it is a legal requirement.

All candidates who will have access to children are required by law to have a full enhanced DBS check to ensure that they have not been banned or suspended from working with children. And it is not just sports club leaders or teachers who require enhanced DBS checking. Lifeguards, sports and kids club employees and those in management roles in leisure centres are also subject to Enhanced DBS checks in order to comply with legislation.

Sports teams are often reliant on sponsorship to fund their activities. With the sports industry often at the forefront of the media, and all players under close scrutiny, making a bad recruitment decision could have a huge impact on your team. It is prudent to carry out full criminal records checks on all new players, to ensure that potential team members are trustworthy and unlikely to damage your team’s reputation.

The authorities providing criminality checks in the UK are Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), covering England and Wales, Disclosure Scotland (DS) and Access NI (Northern Ireland).

There are three main levels of checking: Basic – which only checks for unspent convictions, Standard – which looks for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings and reprimands, and Enhanced – the highest level of check which reveals spent and unspent convictions, cautions, warnings, reprimands and any other relevant police data.

Carrying out detailed criminality checking reduces your risks as a company and will help ensure that your organisation is a safe environment for staff, children and other players, as well as reassure your sponsors.