The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) is an Executive Agency of the Home Office that provides access to criminal record information and to the lists of those people barred from working with children and vulnerable adults through its Disclosure service. This service enables organisations to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, paid and unpaid, that involves children or vulnerable adults.

This service is only available for people who undertake particular roles with children or Vulnerable Adults and it is not legal to seek Disclosures for those not ‘eligible’ for such checks.


The DBS was established under Part V of the Police Act 1997 and was launched in March 2002.
It is a safe, reliable and legal way to access information held by the Police and other agencies which may indicate if a person may be a risk to children or Vulnerable Adults.

There are 4 different levels of DBS check basic, standard,  enhanced, and enhanced with Bared list check.   Which one you can apply for is determined by the role being undertaken and assessed by the amount of time an individual is in regulated contact with Children or vulnerable adults.

By asking to see an individual’s DBS certificate a club or county Association can make considered decisions as to whether a person is suitable for the role they are applying for.
A person may have a disclosure detailed on their DBS certificate, but this does not mean they are necessarily unsuitable to work within your club or association.  A DBS forms part of the information which allows a club or county to make informed decisions


It is important to recognise and understand that any DBS reflects moment in time. A new member may come to your Club with a clear Disclosure certificate from a previous employment but may have since committed a serious or relevant offence.    A DBS check is only one tool that can be used to make informed decisions.


The full guidelines regarding safer recruitment in bowls can be found at  

 2-Safe-Recruitment-Guidelines-.pdf (bowlsdevelopmentalliance.com)   and this can be used in conjunction with  the NACRO guidence  05_NGBs_Safe-Fair-Decisions_2021-1.pdf (netdna-ssl.com) which helps clubs and associations undertake a risk analysis of any potential volunteer or member.


In recent years volunteers have been able to opt to register for the online update when applying for a DBS.  This effectively gives permission for their certificate details to be held online and accessed remotely by other organisation or employers.

It is NOT necessary to have a new check on a ESMBA Member who has already had a ESMBA DBS check in another Club or area. The ESMBA lead safeguarding Officer can tell you whether that person has had an acceptable check, 






These are available from the ESMBA lead Safeguarding officer, or your County SGO.   The contact details for all CSGOs can be found on    The English Short Mat Bowling Association (ESMBA) - Safeguarding Officers

You will be required to complete the form and supply original Identity documents to accompany your application. 


The ESMBA applications are processed through the British Crown Green Bowling Association (BCGBA) and the cost is currently £12.00 for each Enhanced DBS check.



The ESMBA has agreed that DBS checks conducted for the sport of bowls through BCGBA are valid for a period of three years from date of issue.

If however, the applicant opts to register for the online update service upon receipt of their certificate then following consent by the applicant to allow the online record to be checked an existing DBS can be revalidated for a further 3 years if no new disclosures have been added in the interim time.  More information can be found on this free for volunteer’s service at
DBS Update Service - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


The ESMBA reserve the right to seek a re-check at any point if it has reason to believe there has been a cause for concern.



It is MANDATORY that people who regularly teach, train, supervise and/or are in sole charge of a child and/or vulnerable adult should have a enhanced DBS check. Regular contact is defined as ‘Frequently’ (unsupervised contact at least 3 times in a 30 day period)  

Additionally to this the ESMBA require those undertaking the following specific roles are required to  hold a DBS 

• ESMBA Officials ie Umpires, Coaches, and Team Managers 

• ESMBA Management Committee members

• Club Safeguarding Officer
• County Safeguarding Officer
• National Lead Safeguarding Officer
• Any other person who has or is likely to have regular and relevant contact with children and/or vulnerable adults. Examples include Junior Coach/Junior Team Manager/ regular driver for the Junior Team.









It is a MANDATORY requirement that all ESMBA clubs providing any of the following, or similar, activities must have a CLUB SGO.
• Youth programmes
•  School links
•  Activities for vulnerable adults
•  Junior tournaments
•  Any other frequent/intensive activities for children and/or vulnerable adults


The ESMBA RECOMMENDS all clubs should have a Club Safeguarding Officer, who has an approved DBS certificate and whose duties should include:
• To act as a point of referral for concerns for Club Members 

• To implement and oversee protocols to keep junior members and Vulnerable Adults safe at club

It is MANDATORY for all approved ESMBA coaches and Umpires to hold a current DBS certificate.   This can have been issued through any of the 5 bowls codes from the BDA safeguarding panel by prior agreement.





We are confident that using the ESMBA guide to safe recruitment combined with a DBS check for relevant staff gives you and your club or association the best protection.  It also enables The ESMBA to manage a nationwide system to protect children and vulnerable adults through consistent decision making, record keeping and information sharing across the sport, plus enforcement of supervision and suspensions when necessary

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