Criminal Records Check

Page Last Updated: 19th July 2023

British Fencing (BF) has to comply with the law in determining who needs a check and encourages all people who have frequent and regular contact with young people and adults at risk to have a criminal records check.  The way this is done varies from one home nation to another, but the principles are broadly similar.

If you are based in Guernsey you will need to obtain a Guernsey Vetting Bureau (GVB) check by contacting Guernsey Fencing.

If you are based in Northern Ireland you will need to obtain an AccessNI check by contacting Northern Ireland Fencing

If you are based in Scotland you will need to obtain a DisclosureScotland check by contacting Scottish Fencing. Members of the PVG scheme must have a Scheme Update check done every three years.

The information on this page relates to DBS checks in England & Wales which is done by the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)


Checking of Documents

As of 9th December 2022, DBS have issued the following guidance about checking of documents

When checking the validity of the documents it is best practice to carry out this examination face-to-face. Other alternative methods include via a live video link, for example Skype and FaceTime. In both cases you must be in physical possession of the original documents. Any risks identified when using live video must be assessed and mitigated by you if implementing this practice. You must not rely on the inspection of the documents via a live video link, or by checking a faxed or scanned copy of the document.

Do I need a DBS check?

BF requires all people who are working in a unsupervised capacity with children on a regular basis, i.e. once a week or more, or intensively to (4 or more days in a 30 day period or overnight) to undertake an Enhanced Check.  This level of check may be suitable for club volunteers.

Anyone who is working in a “Regulated Activity” must have an Enhanced Check which includes a check against the Children’s Barred List .

Regulated Activity for children is defined as someone who is involved in the following:

  • Unsupervised teaching, training, instructing
  • Caring for or supervising children
  • Providing guidance/advice on well-being
  • Driving a vehicle only for children
  • Work in schools


Regulated Activity for adults is defined as someone who is involved in the following:

  • Providing health care
  • Providing personal care or training/instructing someone to provide – ie physical assistance with eating, drinking, toileting, washing, bathing, dressing, oral or skin care or the care of skin,
  • Providing social work
  • Assistance in the conduct of an adult’s own affairs, where a lasting power of attorney is created
  • Conveying adults to, from or between health care, personal care and/or social work services
  • Day to day management or supervision of anyone carrying out the above activities


In general the following roles are likely to require an Enhanced Check including the barred list for children:

  • Coaches
  • Team Managers
  • Leaders
  • Club Welfare Officers
  • Referees

The attached flowcharts may help in deciding what type of check is required.


I need a DBS check – what do I do next?

DBS application processing takes place online using the Vibrant Nation service.

All affiliated fencing clubs should be registered for this service and people that need DBS checks should contact their clubs who will organise this.

If your club has not signed up to the online system please ask them to follow the instructions here.


Sign-up to the DBS online service.

Any members applying for DBS checks required by BF will be expected to sign up to the DBS Update Service, and give BF permission to view the details online.

You can also sign up to the DBS Update Service when you apply for a DBS check through your club using the Vibrant Nation online system.

Once you have your DBS certificate registered for the online Update Service, contact the Development Team here informing us of your certificate number (it starts with 00 and has 12 digits), your date of birth and surname. This gives us permission to check your DBS.


Sending applications through Vibrant Nation

For more information on how to use the Vibrant Nation system to process new DBS applications, read this page.


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