Manager's guidance to the procedure

Please contact your Human Resources Business Partner for advice on this procedure if required. 

Stage 1 - Identifying the need for a check

The need for a certificate should be established by the Recruiting Manager early on in the recruitment process and be highlighted on the ESR1. The manager should also include a statement to that effect within the job description. Note: The DBS charge for the certificate will be met by the recruiting College/Service.

Before we can ask a person to make an application for a DBS check, we are legally responsible for ensuring that we are entitled to ask the employee to reveal their conviction history. The Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974 lists the types of work, employment or professions on which we can legally obtain a check.

The key criterion for checking employees is "regular and unsupervised contact", (ad hoc or irregular contact for short periods of time are not eligible), with children or vulnerable adults.

Definition of a child: the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act defines a child as someone who is under 18 (under 16 if the child is employed).

Definition of a vulnerable adult: a person aged 18 or over who has a condition of the following type: i) a learning or physical disability; ii) a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; iii) a reduction in physical or mental capacity.

Some example University posts:

  • Student support staff: who may be involved with counselling and advising vulnerable adults (eg counsellors)
  • Nursery nurses
  • Research staff: who are carrying out research in schools or hospitals
  • Academic staff: who are carrying out teaching/research duties in a clinical environment
  • Student recruitment/widening participation/Summer School staff: who are regularly visiting schools/colleges and are involved with children's activities.
  • Teachers of foreign language students: eg TEFL teachers who participate in summer schools
  • Sports Centre staff: who are coaching children and/or participating in children's activities

This is not an exhaustive list, a risk assessment should be undertaken when deciding whether or not a post requires a check.

Any person carrying out duties classed as Regulated Activity need to be apply for an Enhanced with Barred List (Child and /or adult) check.

Stage 2 - Offer of employment

The successful candidate will be emailed the log in details to a secure website where the checks will be carried out using an external supplier.  Information on self disclosure will also be included and the candidate will be informed of the DBS Code of Practice.

If the individual already works for the University and has signed up to the DBS Update Service, then the university can check their status online.

Stage 3 - Obtaining a check

The successful candidate will complete the DBS application form online and will self disclosure any relevant information to the University of Exeter if necessary. HR will be responsible for verifying the identity documents against the information completed online by the candidate and HR will then submit the check. 

The disclosure will be sent directly to the candidate from the DBS and the University will only be informed if the check is clear or if there is a disclosure.  Where a disclosure has been made, the University will contact the candidate to ask to see a copy of the DBS disclosure and discuss the circumstances in more detail.

Stage 4 - Outcome of the certificate

When the application has been processed, the DBS will send a copy of the certificate to the individual. The DBS are no longer sending certificates to the employer however the online system will inform the University if the disclosure is clear or not (but will include no further detail). The disclosure will cover any past convictions to the date that it is issued. Should any disclosures be made then you may be required to present the disclosure to HR.

Having a criminal record will not necessarily bar an applicant from working within the University. Rather, depending on the nature of the position and the circumstances and background of the offences, a decision will be made in agreement with the College PVC/Head of Service and the HR Business Partner.

Any offences or matters that are declared or disclosed which might be relevant to the position will be discussed with the applicant, College PVC/Head of Service and the HR Business Partner. Failure to reveal information that is directly relevant to the position sought may lead to withdrawal of an offer of employment or disciplinary action including dismissal. The University undertakes to discuss any matter revealed in a disclosure with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment or amending an employee's duties after consultation with the Director of HR. 

Other issues

DBS disclosure not received by start date of employment

In exceptional circumstances, should the outcome of the disclosure not be confirmed online or by the DBS by the date that the applicant is due to commence employment, then any self disclosure information should be taken into account and a decision made as to whether the applicant can start work or to wit until the disclosure has been received.

Data protection and confidentiality

Information regarding offences and any other information provided in a DBS disclosure and or as part of a self disclosure must be kept confidential and on a need-to-know basis. In the event that the Project/work is being co-ordinated by someone external to the College/Service eg Education Liaison Office, then information given in the disclosure will also be shared with the Senior Manager in that department. Applicants need to be confident that information about their convictions will not be disclosed to colleagues unless there is a specific reason for doing so. On appointment an individual with a conviction should be advised as to who within the organisation knows of their conviction and the reason why the information has been disclosed.

Where the applicant will be involved with working with a partner organisation, explicit consent will be obtained from the applicant to agree to information received in the disclosure being shared with the organisation. The applicant will be asked to sign a written statement agreeing to this.

Information on decisions will be noted but the disclosure (and any copies) will be destroyed and no record of criminal matters, past or pending will be kept on the individual's personnel file. However, information regarding the post being subject to a DBS check will be recorded (see Statement on the secure storage, handling, use, retention & disposal of Disclosures).

Lifespan of disclosure and frequency of checks

A DBS disclosure will give details of any past convictions to the date that it is issued. Since it provides only "snapshot" information on the date it is issued, Colleges/Services should not rely solely upon the DBS disclosure to manage the risks associated with working with children and vulnerable adults. It is the policy of the University to require a new disclosure every three years (unless changes in the job mean that it is no longer required).  If the individual has subscribed to the DBS update Service then there may be no requirement to apply for a new disclosure as the University can check the status online.

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