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DBS Guidance

Need help with your DBS Application?

Check out our guidance and FAQs for both applicants and clubs

It is a legal requirement for anyone involved in regulated activity to have an in-date and accepted Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. As part of the FA’s safeguarding children strategy, those working in eligible* roles with children and young people must hold a current, FA-accepted DBS Check. This is standard practice.

*Eligibility is governed by legislation and government guidance. In brief this means a DBS Check is required for anyone aged 16 years or over who undertakes any potentially unsupervised roles working directly with children and young people under the age of 18.

These activities include managing, training, coaching and supervising as well as giving advice or guidance on wellbeing, caring for children or driving a vehicle solely for children on behalf of a club or organisation.

All coaches and managers working directly with under-18 players must hold a current, FA-accepted DBS Check.

Need More Assistance? 

If you require more assistance or have any other questions, please contact:

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer: Emily Reece 

Unfortunately, DBS checks obtained outside affiliated football such as Health Care, Education and Social Work, cannot be transferred and will not be accepted by The FA.

If you meet the eligibility and need to start an FA DBS application, here’s what to do next:

Your role in football

Action to take
Grassroots coach, manager, first aider or any other club-based role (i.e. anyone who has a role with Under 18s   Speak to your Club Welfare Officer (CWO)
Club Welfare Officer
Contact Essex County FA's Safeguarding Team
Referee, referee mentor, referee coach, referee assessor and referee tutor in Under 18 football   Contact Essex County FA's Referee Development Team
applicant faqs


  • You should have a “My DBS” tab on the left-hand side of your Whole Game account. If you do, then your club has successfully added you as a DBS applicant
  • Click on the “My DBS” tab, then click on the Green “select” button associated with your club
  • This will trigger an activation email from First Advantage with a link to start your application. You will be prompted to register with First Advantage using your Club’s PIN and secret word. Once you’ve competed your application and your Identity Documents have been verified, payment will need to be made, then the DBS team will start the appropriate checks.

For a helpful video explaining the step-by-step process of starting a DBS application as an applicant, click here


  • Have you checked your spam/junk folders?
  • Have you checked if your email used in Whole Game is correct and the same email address is used in any DBS applications? Email addresses can be edited in Whole Game

If you still can’t find an email from First Advantage and have followed the correct steps, please contact Essex FA’s Safeguarding Support Officer, Emily Reece at emily.reece@essexfa.com

If you think you have more than one FAN, please contact Essex FA’s Safeguarding Support Officer, Emily Reece at emily.reece@essexfa.com

FANs can be merged but the original DBS application may need to be removed by the Safeguarding Support Officer and the application process will have to be started again from the beginning. It is advised that you re-set your Whole Game account Password after major changes like these

Please contact Essex FA’s Safeguarding Support Officer Emily Reece, at emily.reece@essexfa.com

If you cannot access your Whole Game account, your password might need to be re-set. Passwords can be re-set by clicking here, or by clicking “forgot password” in Whole Game or Full-Time

Clubs FAqs

Please follow the above steps and ensure the applicant has followed the relevant advice. If all options have been exhausted, please contact First Advantage at fachecks@thefa.com or on 0115 969 4618

  • Check with the applicant that they have a “My DBS” tab and they have clicked the Green “select” button in Whole Game
  • Check if the applicant has received an activation email from First Advantage that includes the activation link to progress their application
  • DBS applications can be tracked in the ‘Safeguarding & Qualifications’ tab in Club Portal
  • Verifiers can view the status of DBS applications initiated by the Club by logging into the First Advantage website with the Club’s PIN



  • If not done so already, the Club needs to register for the Online Disclosure Service with First Advantage. Then DBS applications can be initiated and progressed by the Club. Please contact First Advantage at fachecks@thefa.com or on 0115 969 4618 to register and request that the Club Welfare Officer be added as an identity documents Verifier

  • If the applicant is new to the club, the club will need to start the process in Club Portal by adding the applicant as an Official and assigning them as a ‘DBS applicant'.

  • If the applicant is renewing their DBS with the same club they used to complete their previous DBS application, then they should already have a “My DBS” tab on the left-hand side of their Whole Game account

For a helpful guidance page explaining the step-by-step process of initiating a DBS application as a club, click here.


It can take 48 hours for a FAN record to be updated with a completed disclosure by the First Advantage team and then show on Whole Game and Club Portal

Although the application may show as complete, the First Advantage team occasionally have to see the actual certificate (not a copy) before they can sign off the DBS application and update Whole Game. If the applicant is contacted by the First Advantage team and asked for their certificate to be sent in, it is advised that the applicant send it recorded delivery

Need more information?

FA Dbs and safer recruitment

Further information about DBS checks and safer recruitment can be found by clicking the button below