DBS Policy

1. Purpose/Abstract

1.1 This policy relates to applicants who are applying for a place or students studying on any programme within the University of Derby that requires an associated Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure (DBS) as a condition of entry.

1.2 The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 sets out the scope of regulated activity and operation of the barring element of DBS. Where students have not had suitable DBS Disclosure (or Certificate of Good Character [CGC] where appropriate) clearance, they will not be allowed to proceed with any placement in industry until a risk assessment process has been undertaken.

1.3 All processes will apply equally to UK and international applicants. For postgraduate research (PGR) students if a DBS Disclosure (or Certificate of Good Character [CGC] where appropriate) clearance has been identified as necessary they will not be able to progress with the affected research until the necessary disclosure or certificate have been secured.

2. Introduction

2.1 All students who are likely to work with, or come into contact with, children and/or vulnerable adults as part of their programme of study are required to obtain an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) (or CGC) prior to commencement of their programme or undertake a self-declaration confirming that they are of good character.

2.2 This policy applies to any programmes requiring a DBS (CGC) Disclosure at the University of Derby as a condition of entry. Many of these programmes operate within, but are not exclusive to, professional, statutory, and regulatory frameworks and the University, in conjunction with our industry partners, have a responsibility to assess the risk posed by applicants/newly enrolled students who have a criminal record. Because of the nature of the work that our students undertake, no convictions or cautions are considered as ‘spent’ under the ‘exceptions’ allowed under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, 1974. In compliance with this, some applicants/newly enrolled students may be deemed unsuitable for certain kinds of work or study depending on the type and nature of the offence they have previously committed and when.

2.3 Students may be allowed to proceed on a programme with items on their DBS Disclosure if the University is satisfied that they have been considered professionally suitable. In a small number of cases, students will be required to provide an annual enhanced DBS Disclosure at their own expense to ensure that they have not had any further involvement relating to an offence with the Police and/or Social Services.

2.4 For PGR students if it is identified when they are applying to the University that a DBS Disclosure (or Certificate of Good Character [CGC] where appropriate) is necessary, securing the required disclosure or certificate should be made a condition of admission to their PGR programme. Were the need is identified during their programme they will not be able to progress with the affected research until the necessary disclosure or certificate have been secured.

3. Scope

3.1 This policy relates to any person (UK or international) applying for a place on any programme within the University of Derby which requires an associated Disclosure and Barring Service disclosure (DBS) as a condition of entry. It also relates to PGR students where such clearance is identified as a requirement to pursue their specific research project

3.2 The DBS carry out criminal record checks using the following sources:

  • Police National Computer
  • Local police records
  • The Department of Health and Social Care
  • The Department for Education

3.3 For international students, a criminal records check will be undertaken in line with contemporary UK government advice. Where specified via the Operations Manual, the policy may apply to students in the United Kingdom applying or studying on programmes delivered in collaborative partnership with the University.


3.4 Students who require DBS clearance prior to undertaking industry placement or work experience are not within scope of this policy and will follow established programme specific procedures.


3.5 Staff, both academic and professional support, who support applicants and students on programmes requiring DBS clearance are expected to implement and adhere to this policy for all students / applicants.

4. Responsibilities

4.1 Applicants to the University for programmes where appropriate DBS clearance is required have a responsibility to ensure they submit their application for DBS in a timely manner.


4.2 Where an application is withdrawn due to an omission or error in personal information, applicants or students are responsible for paying for the revised application.


4.3 Students on programmes where appropriate DBS clearance is required have a responsibility to ensure they notify the University of any change to their DBS status as soon as possible.


4.4 Staff undertaking registry roles either centrally or within Colleges have a responsibility to process information in a timely manner and keep accurate records of process and outcomes.


4.5 Academic staff associated with programmes where appropriate DBS clearance is required have a responsibility to support the implementation of and adherence to this policy in a professional and timely manner.


4.6 For PGR students if DBS clearance is identified during the application process it is the responsibility of the appropriate College Research Committee that any resulting admissions offer is dependent upon evidencing that the appropriate clearance has been gained. If the need for DBS clearance is identified once a PGR student has enrolled, it is the responsibility of the College Research Committee to ensure that the appropriate clearance is appropriately evidenced before the research can be initiated.

5. Policy Statement

5.1 All students or applicants should make every effort to apply for appropriate DBS Disclosure within 10 working days of their university place being confirmed. Where any reasonable delay is encountered, this must be communicated to the admissions or programme team.


5.2 For Buxton and Leek College students ONLY, the application must be made within 6 weeks of their enrolment.

5.3 On receipt of the DBS disclosure statement, the University will make every effort to provide a decision or notification of next steps within 10 working days. Where any reasonable delay is encountered, this must be communicated to the student or applicant.

5.4 If there are no criminal convictions, cautions or involvement with safeguarding issues recorded on the DBS disclosure, applicants / students will be approved to proceed.

5.5 Where criminal convictions, cautions or involvement with safeguarding issues are recorded on the DBS disclosure, the University will undertake an initial risk assessment using the tool in Appendix 1.

5.6 If a student has commenced on a programme of study and their circumstances change with reference to a criminal conviction, caution or involvement with safeguarding issues, they are required to inform their Programme Leader and completion of another enhanced DBS Disclosure will be necessary.

5.7 Details of a disclosure will be referred for investigation under the Professional Conduct Professional Suitability policy. A disclosure is considered to be any written or verbal communication from the student indicating that there has been a change of circumstance, or if information is received from a credible source. For PGR students where circumstances change with reference to a criminal conviction, caution or involvement with safeguarding issues, they are required to inform their Director of Studies and CRC Chair and completion of another enhanced DBS Disclosure will be necessary. Depending upon the reason for the change of circumstances it may not be possible for a PGR student to continue research which requires DBS clearance.

5.8 Non-disclosure of a criminal warning, caution, reprimand or conviction will also be investigated under the Professional Conduct Professional Suitability policy as will any involvement with Local Authorities due to safeguarding issues.

5.9 Where students undertake an interruption of study for six months or more, they are required to provide another enhanced DBS Disclosure before they are able to undertake any placement learning. This will be at the student’s own cost unless this is associated with a protected characteristic and would then be paid for by the University. For PGR students the need to provide another enhanced DBS Disclosure before recommencing their research will be determined by the CRC on a case by case basis.

Note: For HE registered students, if placement or industry partners require an updated DBS immediately prior to placement and the University has no cause for concern (score < 9), this will be paid for by the University.

5.10 For all programmes requiring a DBS disclosure, students will be required to undertake a self-declaration at re-enrolment for each year of study on their programme, and where this is applicable, students will be informed during the re- enrolment process.

5.11 Where students are required to provide an updated disclosure following a change in circumstance, this will be at the student’s own cost.

5.12 By using the risk assessment using the tool in Appendix 1, an overall score will be generated. For low risk (score <9), applicants / students will be approved to proceed, but a copy of the risk assessment will be placed on the student’s PeopleSoft record for the duration of their enrolment on programme.

5.13 For medium risk applicants / students (score10-19), the case will be referred to a ‘DBS Panel’ and the student notified that their DBS will receive further consideration.

5.14 For high-risk applicants / students (score >20), students will be notified that their application or enrolment will be discontinued, unless they are from the BA (Hons) Youth Work and Community Development programme (see 1.19 / 1.20)

5.15 Students referred to a DBS Panel will be given the opportunity to provide a ‘Statement of Mitigating Circumstances’ which will form the basis of the evidence provided to panel. Students will need to provide this information at least 5 working days prior to the scheduled panel date. The ‘Statement of Mitigating Circumstances’ will offer students the opportunity to explain events leading up to or surrounding their circumstances at the time of their criminal or other offence, as well as providing a testimony of good character if possible. Where students are entitled to a reasonable adjustment, additional support, time or format of information will be provided as standard. There will be no requirement for students to attend the panel in person.

5.16 The panel will consist of no less than 3 members; at least two members of university staff, one of whom should normally be a senior academic, plus one other academic member of staff. At least one member of the Panel will be a registered professional. Panel members would normally be associated with the discipline area(s) of the students under consideration.

5.17 The DBS Panel does not make recommendations on behalf of a particular partner organisation but is in effect recommending that an applicant or newly enrolled student who is deemed suitable would be able to join or continue on their programme.

5.18 The DBS Panel will have access to the Enhanced Disclosure, as well as other information that the applicant/newly enrolled student may wish to supply, including references and statements. No information will be redacted as panel members will need to assure themselves that the Statement of Mitigating Circumstances are matched with the correct DBS disclosure. The Panel will then consider the suitability of the applicant/newly enrolled student based on the information contained in the Disclosure and associated risk assessment.

5.19 The DBS Panel is asked to decide whether the applicant/newly enrolled student is considered suitable to start or continue on the programme. If the decision is no, then this exclusion is applied across all registrable/recordable professional programmes in the relevant College

5.20 The applicant/newly enrolled student will be informed of the decision in writing within 5 working days of the DBS Panel meeting.

5.21 Regardless of the University’s decision, some placement providers may prefer not to offer placement to students. Where this occurs, the University will seek to provide an alternative placement opportunity.

6. For Applicants– Right of Complaint

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the DBS procedure, they can utilize the Admissions Complaints policy to raise their concerns. Complaints would be considered on the basis of:

I. Evidence of a material and demonstrable procedural irregularity in the DBS process
II. Evidence that the DBS panel did not consider all the information available to it at the time of its consideration of the claim
III. Additional evidence available which could not have been reasonably provided at the time of the DBS panel. Applicants who base their appeal on this ground will be expected to show why the evidence could not have been provided earlier
Complaints will not be considered on the following grounds:
IV. Dissatisfaction with the reasonable academic and professional judgment of the DBS panel in its consideration of the DBS
Please refer to full policy here: (link to admissions complaints policy)

7. Registered Students Right of Appeal Against an Outcome of a DBS Panel Decision

Students can appeal against the outcome of DBS panel outcome.


Such appeals must be submitted via the Academic Appeals procedure within ten working days of the outcome of the DBS panel decision being communicated to the student.


Appeals against an DBS panel decision may only be made on the following grounds:


V. Evidence of a material and demonstrable procedural irregularity in the DBS process
VI. Evidence that the DBS panel did not consider all the information available to it at the time of its consideration of the claim
VII. Additional evidence available which could not have been reasonably provided at the time of the DBS panel. Students who base their appeal on this ground will be expected to show why the evidence could not have been provided earlier

Appeals will not be considered on the following grounds:

VIII. Dissatisfaction with the reasonable academic and professional judgment of the DBS panel in its consideration of the DBS
Please refer to full Academic Appeal Policy here: (link to Academic Appeal policy)

8. Programme Specific Information 

8.1 Social Work applicants/newly enrolled students

The process is slightly different for the BA (Hons) Applied Social Work and MA Social Work programmes. Once these applicants or newly enrolled students have been approved by the College or DBS Panel, all the information from the meeting about the student including the recommended outcome is circulated to Derby Government Child / Adult and other partners within the Social Work sector for confirmation of approval. Once feedback is received, the applicants/newly enrolled students are informed of the outcome in writing. Social Work students may also be required to have annual enhanced DBS checks depending upon the placement learning experience and requirements of the practice/placement partner.

Regardless of the University’s decision, some placement providers may prefer not to offer placement to students. Where this occurs, the University will seek to provide an alternative placement opportunity.

8.2 BA (Hons) Youth Work and Community Development applicants/newly enrolled students

Applicants to this programme may occasionally score more highly on the risk assessment screening tool. Any applicant scoring 10 or higher will be referred to a DBS panel and given the opportunity to submit a ‘Statement of Mitigating Circumstance’ and associated references.


Regardless of the University’s decision, some placement providers may prefer not to offer placement to students. Where this occurs, the University will seek to provide an alternative placement opportunity.

8.3 Apprentices or work-based leaners

For apprentices or other work-based learners, the employer is expected to conduct a DBS no earlier than 3 months prior to the start of the programme of study. The University must receive a written declaration from the employer that this has been undertaken and the apprentice or learner has no issues of concern.

9. Disqualification by Association

9.1 The criteria for disqualification under the 2006 Act and 2018 Regulations include those set out in the list below:

a. inclusion on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Children’s Barred List,

b. being found to have committed certain violent and sexual criminal offences against children and adults which are referred to in regulation 4 and Schedules 2 and 3 of the 2018 Regulations (note that regulation 4 also refers to offences that are listed in other pieces of legislation);

c. certain orders made in relation to the care of children which are referred to in regulation 4 and listed at Schedule 1 of the 2018 Regulations;

d. refusal or cancellation of registration relating to childcare (except if the refusal or cancellation of registration with a childminder agency or the sole reason for refusal or cancellation is failure to pay a prescribed fee under the 2006 act (regulation 4(1) of the 2018 regulations)), or children’s homes, or being prohibited from private fostering, as specified in paragraph 17 of Schedule 1 of the 2018 Regulations;

e. living in the same household where another person who is disqualified lives or is employed (disqualification ‘by association’) as specified in regulation 9 of the 2018 Regulations (note that regulation 9 only applies where childcare is provided in domestic settings, defined as ‘premises which are used wholly or mainly as a private dwelling’ in section 98 of the act, or under a domestic premises registration., including non-domestic premises up to 50% of the time)

f. being found to have committed an offence overseas which would constitute an offence regarding disqualification under the 2018 Regulations if it had been done in any part of the United Kingdom.

9.2 All students who are applying for a programme of study which entails working in schools with children up to the age of 8 will be asked to fill in an additional form which asks for supplementary information required by the legislation to ensure that you are not disqualified by association. These forms will be available in an alternative format where required.


For further information you can access the statutory guidance under the Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006.

10. Sanctions


10.1 Failure of staff to comply with this policy may lead to the staff disciplinary procedure being invoked. This could result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.


10.2 Failure of students to comply with this policy may lead to their conduct being considered via the ‘Professional Conduct Professional Suitability’ or ‘Disciplinary’ policies.


10.3 For applicants, where the offer of a place at the University is conditional on following this policy, their offer may be withdrawn if they fail to comply.

11. References


The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) (1974) chapter 53 (Accessed 3.6.21).


The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1975 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Accessed 3.6.21).


Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 chapter 47 (Accessed 3.6.21).

12. Equality Analysis

Undertaken 22.6.21

 

13. Supporting Documents

Appendix 1- DBS Policy - Risk Assessment Tool

Appendix 2- DBS Policy - Process Flow Document