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Student Guide to DBS

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At Staffordshire University, we have a number of courses which lead to professional registration.  

Due to the nature of these courses, students will go out on placement and work with vulnerable groups such as adults and / or children.   It is a requirement for students studying on these courses, to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check with Barred Lists. This will confirm whether there is anything on your record which may impact on your ability to work with the public and safely practice in your intended profession.  

For the majority of these courses, the DBS checks are completed as part of the application process as it forms part of your conditional offer and is a requirement for enrolment.   

You can find more information about the Disclosure and Barring Service by going to the official DBS website.

 The Disclosure and Barring Service processes and issues criminal record checks and maintains the Child and Adult Barred Lists.  The purpose of this is to protect the public and bar individuals who are considered a risk from working in certain roles. 

 There are different types of DBS checks: 

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Enhanced
  • Enhanced with Barred Lists 

The level of check that is required is set out in legislation and is dependent on the responsibilities of the role.  

For more information about the types of checks, please see the official DBS website

If you are enrolling onto a course where you will be undertaking a placement or work experience with children or vulnerable adults, the University requires an enhanced DBS check with Child and Adult Barred List checks.  Applicants and students are not able to apply for an Enhanced DBS with Barred Lists check themselves; the University will initiate this where one is required.  

The DBS certificate shows if an individual has a criminal record or whether they have been barred from working with adults and / or children.  The Police may also offer advice about an individual if an investigation is in process.  The University will only ask to see a certificate if legally required to do so. 

The DBS Application Process

Staffordshire University uses a DBS online provider, Atlantic Data to manage the DBS application process.  

Once it has been identified that you will require a DBS check, you will be provided with a link to complete the application online through Atlantic Data.  This email will be sent from DBS@staffsuni.disclosures.co.uk

The links to the application will be sent to the email address that you have provided in your application, so it is important that you provide us with an email address that you regularly access.  Any communications relating to your DBS application will be sent to you using that email address.  This email will also contain your Username so you can access your application. 

We recommend that you regularly check your spam / junk email folder to ensure no important emails are mistakenly directed there.  

It is important that you engage with the process as quickly as possible.  Failure to complete your application in a timely manner will result in delays to starting your course and / or attending placement.  

If you have not received a link, please contact DBS@staffs.ac.uk to prevent any delays in you being able to start your course.

Completing the Application

When you access your online application for the first time, you will need to register your account.  Once you have registered your account, you will be able to assess your application with the provided username and password. It’s important that you make sure that any details in this section are correct because mistakes can happen. If you submit your application with incorrect details, this will cause a delay in the process.   

The application link is time sensitive and will be automatically cancelled after a set period of time.  Therefore, it is essential that you complete your application as soon as possible to avoid delay.  You will receive regular reminder emails from Atlantic Data and the University warning you if you have not completed your DBS application.

 If you are worried that there may be something on your DBS certificate and are delaying in completing it, please email DBS@staffs.ac.uk as soon as possible to discuss this in more detail.  

If you have any queries about accessing or completing the application form, please email DBS@staffs.ac.uk

If you have any questions about the ID documents that you can use in your DBS application, please see the official ID Checking Guidelines. It is strongly recommended that you keep a note of the which identity documents you use because you will need to reference and show these as part of your ID verification check. 

ID Verification Checks

We are currently making some changes and improvements to our DBS process. If you believe that you need to undertake an ID verification check urgently, please contact DBS@staffs.ac.uk.

Please note that the process relating to the ID verification checks is changing and you may be asked to complete a Digital ID check as part of your application.  Please follow the instructions given as part of the application.  If a Digital ID check is not possible, you may be asked to complete a virtual ID check, again please follow the instructions given as part of the application.

On the day of the appointment

We are currently making some changes and improvements to our DBS process. If you believe that you need to undertake an ID verification check urgently, please contact DBS@staffs.ac.uk.

Please note that the process relating to the ID verification checks is changing and you may be asked to complete a Digital ID check as part of your application.  Please follow the instructions given as part of the application.  If a Digital ID check is not possible, you may be asked to complete a virtual ID check, again please follow the instructions given as part of the application.

What happens once the application has been submitted?

Once the ID verification stage has been completed, the advisor will submit your application.  Atlantic Data will do a final check of your application prior to submitting it to the Disclosure and Barring Service.  If there are any discrepancies at this stage, Atlantic Data will query these with us.   

Once Atlantic Data are satisfied that all the information is present and correct, they will submit your application to the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

The Disclosure and Barring Service will process your application.  Please note that this stage can take between 2 to 10 weeks from the date of submission.  The University and Atlantic Data have no control over this stage, as it is being processed by the Disclosure and Barring Service, which is why it is essential that you complete the application as soon as possible to prevent delay in you being able to start your course. 

Once your application has been processed, the Disclosure and Barring Service will post out the physical certificate to your home address.  

What happens once the DBS Certificate has been received?

When the Disclosure and Barring Service has issued your DBS certificate, the University will receive a notification that it has been dispatched.  As this is your certificate, it will be sent directly to you, and the University does not receive or see a copy of your certificate.  We will be notified if the certificate is clear so that you can be cleared for enrolment.    

If your certificate does not have any disclosures recorded on it, the University does not need to see a copy of it.    

However, if there is a disclosure on your certificate, you will need to provide us with a statement explaining what happened, what the caution / conviction was for and any mitigation that you can or want to offer.  This information is needed to determine your suitability to study on your course and proceed onto your chosen profession.  You will need to email this to DBS@staffs.ac.uk

It may be that we want to meet with you to discuss the disclosure at a Suitability Panel before your place on the course can be confirmed.  It is recommended that you be open and honest during this process as this will determine whether the University believes you to have the values, skills, knowledge and good health to work safely and effectively in your future profession.  You can find more information by going to the Fitness to Practice Procedure

If you do not receive your DBS certificate within 1 month of your application being submitted, you will need to email DBS@staffs.ac.uk as soon as possible 

Please ensure that you keep your DBS certificate safe and that you are aware of its location, as you may be required to present it when you commence placement.  If you have misplaced your certificate, please see the 'What do I do if I have lost/not received my certificate?'

What will be shown on my DBS Certificate?

The information given on the DBS Certificate depends on the type of check you have applied for.  

As the University requires an enhanced DBS check with Barred Lists, the following information will be shown: 

  • Any spent and unspent convictions, subject to filtering. 
  • Relevant police intelligence
  • Barred Lists Information 

The filtering rules which apply are as follows: 

A conviction will be filtered if:

  • 11 years have passed since the date of the conviction or 5 and ½ years if you were under 18 when you received the conviction;
  • You did not receive a custodial / suspended sentence;
  • It is not on the Specified Offences List. 

A caution will be filtered if:

  • 6 years have passed since the date of the caution; and
  • It is not on the Specified Offences List. 
  • Any spent youth cautions are not disclosed. 

Please note, that the Police can still disclose information, if they believe that it is relevant and should be disclosed.  

You can find more information on the official DBS website.

FAQs

I have a current certificate; can I use this?

If you have a current certificate, we will need to see a copy of this so that we can check that it meets with our requirements.  You will need to send a copy of the full pages of the certificate to DBS@staffs.ac.uk

For your certificate to meet the University’s requirements, it must be: 

  • An Enhanced Check
  • For the right type of workforce for your course (child and / or adult)
  • Issued within the last 3 months. 

If your certificate does not meet with our requirements, you will need to apply for a new one through the University.  

What is the DBS Update Service and how do I register?

The Disclosure and Barring Service provide an Update Service which you can join if you have a standard or enhanced DBS certificate.  It costs £13 a year on an annual subscription, and it allows you to keep your DBS certificate up to date and allows employers or anyone entitled to do so to view it online. The University strongly recommends that you sign up to the Update Service once you have received your certificate.  Please note, that as this is a government service, this is at your own costs and the University will not pay for the annual subscription. 

Once you have received your certificate, you will need to register within 30 days of the issue date.  

You can find more information on the service and how to register by going to DBS Update Service.

I have a certificate registered on the Update Service; can I use this?

If you are on the DBS Update Service, you do not need to keep reapplying for a new DBS certificate as long as no changes are identified, and the original certificate meets our requirements.  

We will need to see a copy of your original certificate so that we can check that it meets with our requirements.  You will need to send a copy of the full pages of the original certificate to DBS@staffs.ac.uk

For your certificate to meet the University’s requirements, it must be: 

  • An Enhanced Check
  • For the right type of workforce for your course (child and / or adult)
  • On the Update Service.  

Please don’t send a screenshot of the webpage, as this does not show us the information which we require.  

If you no longer have the original certificate, or it does not meet our requirements you will need to apply for a new one through the University. 

I am an international student; do I need to complete a DBS check?

As part of your application for your course, you will have provided an International Police check certificate.  If this has been assessed as valid and meets the University’s requirements, you will not need to complete a UK DBS Check. 

If you have lived in the UK previously for any length of time prior to the start of your course, you will also need to complete a UK DBS check.

What do I do if my application has been stuck at the LPF stage for several weeks?

The DBS application process is managed by our DBS provider, Atlantic Data directly with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

 Once your application has been submitted following the ID verification process, Atlantic Data will forward your application on to the Disclosure and Barring Service for them to complete their checks.  The University has very little influence over the process from this point. 

One of the checks that the Disclosure and Barring Service undertake is with the Local Police Force (LPF) and this is where delays can occur.  Unfortunately, there are no timescales on how long this part of the checks can take. This stage is normally completed very quickly, but occasionally, this can take up to 10 weeks or longer from the date your application has been submitted to the DBS. Your certificate will only be issued once all the relevant checks have been completed.  

Atlantic Data will follow-up with the Disclosure and Barring Service for updates on two occasions if there has been no movement on your application at the LPF stage.  We can seek updates from the DBS provider on two occasions.  

If the delays are impacting on your ability to either enrol or go on to placement, you will need to contact the Disclosure and Barring Service directly to see if they can expedite your application.  

You can do this by calling DBS Customer Services on 03000 200 190, selecting option 2 and then selecting option 2 again.  You will need to explain that the delay is causing you difficulties and disadvantaging your ability to study and provide the date that you need to have had your DBS certificate by, so for example, the course start date or placement start date.  The Disclosure and Barring Service will then conduct a further escalation, but this is at their own discretion. 

The  official DBS website also provides other means of contacting customer services.  

What do I do if there is a caution/conviction on my certificate?

Having a criminal record does not necessarily prevent you from joining one of our Awards, everyone is assessed on a case-by-case basis.  

If there is a caution or a conviction on your certificate, you will need to provide us with a statement explaining what happened, what the conviction was for and any mitigation that you can or want to offer, as well as any supporting evidence such as supporting statements or a copy of a DBS certificate you may already have already.  You will need to email this to DBS@staffs.ac.uk

Once we have received your statement, we will consider the details fairly and consistently in line with the University’s Fitness to Practise Procedure. We will also ask the Head of Department to review the information and confirm the appropriate action, such as whether this needs further consideration at a Suitability Panel. 

What do I do if I have lost/not received my certificate?

If you have lost your DBS certificate or you have not received it in the post, you can normally request a DBS certificate reprint.  

The following criteria applies: 

  • The certificate was issued more than 14 days ago, and you have not received it;
  • The request has been made within 3 months of the date of issue; and
  • The address to send the reprint certificate to matches the address on the application. 

 You can find more information by going the Official DBS Reprint Guide 

If the above applies, please email DBS@staffs.ac.uk and we will provide you with the completed Reprint Request Form to send to DBSReprints@dbs.gov.uk  We are not able to submit the form on your behalf. 

If you do not meet the criteria to request a reprint or you have lost your certificate, you will need to apply for a new enhanced DBS certificate.  Even though we will initiate a new application, this will be at your own cost and payment will need to be made to the University.  

Please note that for a replacement DBS certificate, you will be charged £48.33; this payment is inclusive of an administration fee.  

What happens if I do not complete the DBS application?

If you do not complete the DBS application within 3 months from the date the initial link has been sent to you, your application will be automatically cancelled.  

This may impact on your ability to either complete enrolment with the University or go out on placement.  It may also impact on your access to financial support as well as to your timetable for taught sessions. 

What do I do if I need a DBS certificate so I can attend a placement, but this is not a requirement of the course?

If you require a DBS check to attend a placement or voluntary opportunity as part of your studies, but this is not an assessed requirement of your course, you will need to confirm the level of check that is required.  

If the placement provider / voluntary organisation requests a basic or a standard DBS check, you can apply for this yourself.  You can find more information on how to apply for a basic or standard DBS check by going to the official DBS website.

What if I have changed my name?

If you have had a DBS certificate in the last 3 months but have since legally changed your name, for example through marriage or deed poll, you will need to apply for a new DBS certificate unless you are on the Update Service.    

If you legally change your name during the course, you might be required to apply for a new certificate. You will not be able to do this through the Update Service, but you will be able to link this to your Update Service account. 

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) offers a confidential checking service for transgender applicants in accordance with the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Please note, an applicant using the confidential checking service will still complete the same application form. You can find more information about this by going to the official DBS website.

Who do I contact if I have any queries?

If the answer to your query is not provided above, please email DBS@staffs.ac.uk

If your query relates to the online application form, please provide as much information as possible and provide any relevant screenshots about the issues you are having so that we can support you appropriately. 

If your query related to what ID documents you can use, please see ID Checking Guidelines

If you have a question about a DBS check for a member of staff, please contact AskHR@staffs.ac.uk for assistance.