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Does Santa need to be DBS checked?

We asked the team at Safe Network - a partnership between the NSPCC and Children England - for child protection advice for PTAs seeking a Santa. This is what they said:

'If someone volunteers to play Santa at your Christmas event, they would not be required to undertake a DBS check. It is unlikely that playing Santa meets the criteria for a check. Also, the 'frequency and intensity test' would not be met. This requires the activity to take place at least once a week, or at least four days in a 30-day period, or overnight. Of course, a DBS check is only one part of keeping children safe. We recommend that you:

  • Ask the volunteer to provide references and have a short informal interview, so that you can reassure yourself you are happy for them to take on this role.
  • Make them aware of your child protection procedures so they know 
what behaviour is expected.
  • Have another person in the grotto when children are present - if possible that person should have had a DBS check.
  • Encourage children's parents or carers to accompany them in the grotto.'

For more advice on when a DBS check is needed, go to safenetwork.org.uk.

Can't find a Santa? Read advice from PTAs on Facebook:


Tracey Morgan-Willcox: 'We use dads and granddads - we had 3 different santas over a 4 hour shift to give them each a break'

Francesca Gubbay: 'Try a local scout/cub/beaver leader.'

Lorna Boyd: 'What about your local councillor? Ours was happy to help for a few years.'

Deb Cooper: 'Ask local voluntary groups like lions or rotary…'

Sharon Newland: 'You can try Round Table too…'

Sally Shiers: 'I rang the local fire station and sent a text out to the parents - we got sorted!'

Get more answers to your PTA questions by joining PTA+  on Facebook.


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