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Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Guidance

Photo: RFU Archive

The RFU is committed to ensuring that all children enjoy rugby union in a safe and enjoyable environment. The RFU requires any individual engaged in a Regulated Activity to undertake a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check through their club in order to work with children or vulnerable adults in accordance with the RFU Regulation 21 (PDF 39kB).

Applications for individuals engaging in their roles as volunteers are free of charge. However, if an individual is paid for their role (excluding out of pocket expenses); or if they are gaining a qualification (for example, Duke of Edinburgh Award) from their participation, a fee of £44 per application is required before it is processed. For a non-volunteer, the RFU will require payment via BACS or cheque in advance. Applications will be held in our Awaiting Payment file on the eDBS system and will remain unprocessed until confirmation of payment is received.

The RFU has produced guidance relating to Regulated Activity and DBS eligibility (PDF 476kB); there is also a DBS Eligibility Decision Flow-Chart (PDF 292kB), which allows clubs to ensure the relevant individuals are checked.

The DBS was created when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) in December 2012 as a result of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA 2012). Following this legislation, a number of changes have been implemented both at the RFU and at the DBS. In particular the introduction of the following:

You might find the RFU's DBS Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 332kB) document helpful.

Having a criminal record does not automatically prohibit an individual from undertaking a role working with children or vulnerable adults. All DBS disclosures are handled confidentially, with every case treated on its own merit. The RFU's DBS Disclosure Management Process (PDF 220kB) is a flow-chart showing the process from start to finish. In addition, the RFU has produced a policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders which provides further guidance.

The RFU operates an online eDBS application system. Clubs must register to use the eDBS application system. This system allows the RFU to effectively monitor all DBS applications and disclosure results. Applicants additionally avoid the costs and delays of postage, as well as being considerably faster than the previous paper system. Further information about the online eDBS system and guidance on how clubs can register is available on the following links:

In order to register for the online eDBS system, please contact the RFU Safeguarding Team via email at


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