A Guide to DBS Checks for Universities
University staff, volunteer workers, and students often contact us asking about the DBS requirements for universities.
For that reason, we have put together this brief guide that identifies which university roles require DBS Checks and the level of check that is needed.
The 3 Levels of DBS Check
Before we dive into the details of how DBS Checks work for people involved in universities, we’ll first explore what levels of check are available and how they differ.
- Basic DBS Check – Reveals unspent convictions and conditional cautions.
- Standard DBS Check – Reveals spent and unspent convictions, as well as cautions, warnings, and reprimands.
- Enhanced DBS Check – Reveals the same as a Standard DBS Check, as well as any relevant information found on local police force records.
Basic DBS Checks are available for anyone aged 16 or over and can be requested by the individual themselves.
Standard DBS Checks are reserved for more responsible jobs, such as handling money and working with children or vulnerable adults. The applicant must apply through a registered party or employer.
Enhanced DBS Checks are mainly for people that have unsupervised direct contact with vulnerable adults or children. If the role is defined as a ‘regulated activity’ then the Enhanced DBS Check will also require a barred list check.
Do University Staff Need DBS Checks?
As a rule of thumb, university staff including lecturers, wardens, research assistants, advisors, and admin staff do not require a Standard DBS Check or Enhanced DBS Check. This is due to the fact that university attendees are adults and most will not be considered as vulnerable.
However, there are exceptions, such as student counsellors who may work with vulnerable adults and require an Enhanced DBS Check.
Many universities take the approach that they have a duty of care to their students and will request that all staff get at least a Basic DBS Check carried out.
Do University Students Need A DBS Check?
Students that are taking part in work placements outside of the university campus may need a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check. For instance, students that are training to be teachers or medical staff may require the higher level checks.
Any student that is involved in a regulated activity will need an Enhanced DBS Check with a check of the relevant barred list in addition.
Do Voluntary Staff at Universities Need A DBS Check?
Whether a volunteer needs a DBS Check or not depends on the nature of the role they are carrying out. Any person can get a Basic DBS Check, but the higher level checks are reserved for more responsible positions and those that involve working with children or vulnerable adults.
There is a DBS Check specifically for volunteers, that is free, apart from a small fee that is payable by the employer or administrator.
Summary of University DBS Checks
University staff are not usually required to get a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check. However, they can be requested to get a Basic DBS Check.
University students that take part in work placements where they have direct contact with children or vulnerable adults will need a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check.
To find out more about DBS Checks, including checks for universities, get in touch today.