Do You Need A DBS Check For A University Placement?
There are plenty of university courses that require students to take part in a work experience placement. Sometimes these are sandwich courses, where the student studies for a year or two, then takes a year out in a placement, before coming back to complete their studies. Other courses require students to take one or more shorter placements during the course.
Whatever the course structure, if students are required to take part in a placement, then there’s a chance that the issue of background checks may arise. Some employers may ask, or require by law, that the student applies for a DBS check, which searches through their criminal record to highlight any potential concerns.
This article will discuss DBS checks for university placements, including ascertaining what type of DBS check is needed and how to go about getting one.
What level of DBS check do students need?
There are three main levels of DBS check: basic, standard, and enhanced. The enhanced DBS check may also be requested with an additional barred list check. The level that university students need for a work placement depends on the nature of the role and the responsibilities they will hold whilst on placement.
Each level has different criteria:
- Basic – Anybody over the age of 16 can apply for a basic DBS check and get access to details of any unspent convictions on their criminal record.
- Standard – Usually used for professional jobs such as lawyers, financial advisors, accountants, etc. They highlight any spent and unspent convictions, as well as cautions, warnings and reprimands. The standard check needs to be applied for on the student’s behalf – either by the university or the employer.
- Enhanced – Used for roles that involve direct, unsupervised contact with vulnerable adults or children. They are usually requested with a barred list check which checks the person’s name against the DBS list of people that are excluded from working with vulnerable groups. Enhanced DBS checks reveal the same information as the standard check, but also any notes and info held by local police forces that are relevant to the role. The enhanced check needs to be applied for on the student’s behalf – either by the university or the employer.
The level of DBS check you’ll need depends on the degree course you are studying and what the work placement involves. For instance, if you are on an education or teaching degree, the placement will involve working in schools, so you’ll need an enhanced DBS check with barred list to meet safeguarding requirements. Medicine or nursing degrees that require work placements in hospitals are likely to ask for the same level of DBS check.
On the other hand, if you are doing an engineering degree, with a placement in a construction firm, you may only need a basic or standard check, as you are unlikely to be working directly with children or vulnerable adults.
How to get a university placement DBS check
Now you know a little bit about the different types of check, you may be wondering how to apply for one.
As mentioned earlier, anybody can apply for a basic DBS check to be carried out on themselves. There are a number of ways to do this. You can request a check:
- from the DBS if you are based in England or Wales
- from Disclosure Scotland if you are based in Scotland
- online through a provider such as DBSchecks.org.uk
For higher levels of DBS check (standard or enhanced) you need to ask your university, employer, or a registered agency to do so on your behalf. If you’re unsure what your university’s approach is, ask one of your lecturers or tutors and they may be able to answer or direct you to the person who knows the policy and procedure.
If you are able to apply online, this is the easiest and fastest option. You can get your results in as little as 48 hours and there is less chance of a mistake being made as the smart online form highlights inconsistencies and errors.
Many university courses require students to undertake work placements as part of the course. This involves working with outside employers, some of whom may ask for a DBS check to be carried out.
If this is the case, then you can check with your university or potential employer and ask what the procedure is.
If you need help directly from DBS check experts, you can contact one of our team today to clear any confusion or answer any queries.