Does Santa need to be DBS checked?

The team at NSPCC provide child protection advice for PTAs running a grotto and searching for a Santa...

We asked the team at NSPCC 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, visit

How to find a Santa

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

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!’


Further reading