Introducing digital ID verification

Improving the DBS check process for volunteers in England and Wales

05 June 2024

We're working hard at making our processes easier and more straightforward for volunteers.

Back in May, we shared with you that we've been looking at improvements to the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) process for volunteers in England and Wales.  

These improvements will involve introducing digital ID verification– an online way of verifying identities, without the need to meet in person. Instead, new and existing volunteers will have the option to prove their identity using an app which can be downloaded to their phone or tablet. 

This will mean that volunteers enquiring to join Girlguiding will have a quicker, smoother and more accessible recruitment journey. This is in response to feedback that it can be challenging to arrange to meet an ID verifier. And it’ll make the recruitment process less daunting for new joiners, as they won’t need to disclose personal information to someone they may not have met before. Existing volunteers will also be able to renew their DBS disclosure check more easily. 

It’ll also reduce the admin burden on ID verifiers in England and Wales. This new process won’t be mandatory - new and existing volunteers in England and Wales will still have the option to have their ID verified in person with an ID verifier if they’d prefer.

Questions you may have

We’re working on making this option available during autumn 2024. Once we have a specific date confirmed, we’ll let you know via our essential updates newsletter.

For ID verifiers in England and Wales, introducing digital ID verification should make things a lot easier. You won’t need to contact or arrange to meet with an applicant unless they choose to have their ID verified in person. 

As an ID verifier you’ll have access to a report in the disclosure system showing where applicants in your area are in the process, whether they’ve verified through digital ID verification or in person with an ID verifier, so you can still keep an eye on how things are progressing. 

Commissioners reports and views within GO will be unchanged and will still show volunteers disclosure status regardless of which route theyve taken. For those that request to verify their identity in person youll still need to assign an ID verifier to allow access to their contact details. 

The in-person ID verification process and policy will remain the same. Find out more about information and guidance about the disclosure check process.  

We’ll be in touch with more information for anyone in ID verification roles before digital ID verification launches. This role remains an important one, so thank you for everything that you do.

New and existing volunteers will have the option to verify their identity online themselves by applying for a digital ID. When invited to complete their DBS application, they’ll need to download an app to their phone or tablet device. Through the app they’ll: 

  • Register their digital ID account.  
  • Scan their identity documents. 
  • Complete a liveness (selfie) check by taking a 3D scan of their face. 
  • Confirm their current UK address.  

Once completed, they can share their issued digital ID, linking it to their DBS application.

This process isn’t mandatory, and they’ll still have the option to choose an in-person verification process if they’d prefer.

Digital ID verification is only available for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) used in England and Wales. The service isn’t offered by the providers of Access NI or Scotland’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG). Unfortunately, that means that digital ID verification isnt an option for those living in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or overseas where alternative disclosure check processes are in place.

What’s next? 

We’ll keep you in the loop with updates, and let you know when this option is due to go live as soon as we can.  

We’re also planning on running some support calls in the autumn, to answer any questions you may have and help you get to grips with digital ID verification. And we’ll be in touch with more information for anyone in ID verification roles before digital ID verification launches.  

If you have any urgent questions in the meantime, you can contact our membership services team by email at [email protected].