An introduction to DBS checks

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the amendment orders prohibit discrimination against persons with prison/criminal records, within defined limits relating to the length of the sentence and the period free of a criminal record after the sentence was completed. Therefore once the sentence and qualifying time free of a criminal record have lapsed, the conviction is described as 'spent' and the person no longer needs to state this when asked about their criminal record.

However, where a post involves significant contact with children or vulnerable adults, and in certain other cases, the University is entitled to make enquiries about the applicant's entire criminal record and will seek a certificate from the Disclosure & Barring Service.

Please note that having a criminal record will not necessarily bar you from working with us. This will depend on the offence and the relevance of the offence to the position applied for.

Level of disclosure

For positions working with children and vulnerable adults, an Enhanced with or without a Barred List check DBS certificate will be requested. This involves an extra level of checking with local police force records in addition to checks with the Police National Computer and the government department lists held by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health, where appropriate. The majority of posts which require a DBS certificate within the University will be subject to an Enhanced Certificate.

Where an employee will be carrying out regulated activity, then a Barred List check will also need to be carried out.  More information on this can be found at Regulated Activity.

All other positions covered by the the Exceptions Order 1975 to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 are subject to a Standard DBS certificate. This contains details of all convictions on record (including spent convictions), plus details of any cautions, reprimands or warnings. It is unlikely that it will be necessary to conduct a Standard DBS certificate on any positions at the University.

The amendments to the Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) provide that certain spent convictions and cautions are 'protected' and are not subject to disclosure to employers, and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found at the Disclosure and Barring website.

  Basic       Standard  Enhanced   Enhanced + barred lists
Information searched                               
Unspent convictions  Yes                         Yes                    Yes                       Yes
Spent convictions  No  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cautions, warnings, reprimands  No  Yes  Yes  Yes
Other police information relevant to role  No  No  Yes  Yes
 Child or adult barred list  No  No  No  Yes

International staff

Disclosures for applicants with a substantial record of overseas residence, including current UK residents and British nationals, may not include information on convictions from outside the UK.

Unless the applicant has little or no previous residence in the UK, a disclosure should still be sought. Should the applicant have periods of overseas residency in the EU, they will be asked to obtain certificates of good conduct or extracts from their criminal record to show to their HR Business Partner.

There are also other countries outside the EU where criminal record information is available. Your HR Business Partner will contact the relevant body in the country they have resided in to obtain information on any criminal convictions. The DBS can offer guidance on the availability of criminal record checks in a variety of foreign countries.

Existing staff

In the event that existing staff are taking on additional duties which may require them to complete a DBS check, this will be discussed with them fully by their line manager before the paperwork is completed.

Casual workers

Casual workers such as those on the Temporary Staff Bank or casual workers in the Sports Office who are working with children or vulnerable adults on behalf of the University may need to complete a DBS check.

Students

Students who require a DBS certificate for work experience which is part of their academic programme should contact the Admissions Office.

Where an individual is both a student and an employee of the University, it should be self-evident whether the DBS disclosure is required in connection with their employment (processed by HR) or their course of study (processed by Admissions).

Update Service

The DBS has recently introduced an Update Service.  Individuals need to subscribe online (and pay a fee) to apply for a criminal check once, and then if they need a similar check again within the University then they can reuse their existing certificate, with the University checking online to see if it is still up to date. If they are in a different role then a new form will need to be completed. 

In some cases, where an employee is also carrying out work for the NHS, then the University will apply for the disclosure for the individual but the individual will need to subscribe to the update service within 19 days of receiving their disclosure.  The individual will need to pay for the update service (further information will be supplied on NHS paperwork to the individual).