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DBS checks: guidance for applicants

Read the guidance to understand what is required from you to complete a DBS check as part of your role.

We are now using an online provider to administer DBS checks on our behalf. Active Background Checks is an Umbrella Body, registered by the DBS to carry out all types of check.

Some roles at the University have been designated as requiring satisfactory Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

When a DBS check is required, it is likely that your line manager will have requested HR to initiate a DBS check for you.

You will only receive satisfactory clearance once HR has received confirmation on the status of your check from Active Background Checks.

A number of departments across the University administer their own DBS checks. In these circumstances, applicants should follow the same process as below, but contact the following designated departmental contacts as below instead of HR.

The University is fully compliant with the DBS Code of Practice, a copy of which can be provided upon request.

What you need to do as an applicant

If you are already registered for the DBS Update Service, please let your HR Co-ordinator know as you may not need to submit a further DBS application form. For more information, please refer to Stage 6 below or visit the GOV.UK DBS Update Service webpage. In these circumstances, you will need to bring your original certificate to HR so that the correct level of check can be verified.

Application process

This is a four stage process and you will be notified by email when you need to complete a DBS check and how to apply for a check. You will only receive satisfactory clearance once HR has received confirmation of your disclosure from Active Background Checks.

1. Prepare your identification documents

Check what identification (ID) documents you need to provide using the Government Guidance. Scan copies of the original ID documents* and email them across to your HR Co-ordinator so that they can be verified over video link later in the process (see Stage 3 below). Your ID documents will be deleted as soon as your check has been completed.

*Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic a temporary process is in place to allow ID checks to be carried out virtually rather than in person (unless this is possible). This temporary process will cease on 30 September 2022 and from 1 October 2022, in-person checks will be required of original ID.

2. Complete the online application form

Go to and log in using the details provided by your HR Co-ordinator. Complete the application process following the online steps. If you experience any problems or have any queries in relation to the online process, please contact Active Background Checks by telephone, 03301 355 855 or by email,

3. Submit your application

Once your application has been submitted, your HR Co-ordinator will contact you to arrange a suitable time for the ID validation to take place and complete the remaining parts of the process. Once complete, your DBS form will be submitted to Active Background Checks so that they can carry out the check. You will be able to track the progress of your application here.

4. Notification

Once your DBS check has been completed, you will receive an email notifying you of this and your DBS disclosure certificate will be sent out to you in the post. Your HR Co-ordinator will also receive an email confirming the status of your check and will input these details onto iTrent. You may be asked to provide the original versions of your ID documentation when you first attend your employment or volunteering role.

5. DBS renewals

DBS checks at the University are valid for three years.

Prior to the expiry of your DBS check, you will receive an email informing you that you need to initiate a new DBS check. Your line manager will also receive an email informing them of this requirement.

Once you receive this email, you should follow the application process outlined above.

6. Update service

If you haven’t already had a DBS Update Service Check initiated by the University before or as part of joining the University then you will need to bring your original DBS certificate to HR so that the correct level of check can be verified. Joining the Update Service is not a mandatory requirement and it is your choice whether you wish to do so. You will still be required to renew your DBS check after a period of 3 years in line with the Renewal Process above.

If you’ve already applied for a DBS check via the University, you can register for the Update Service using your DBS certificate number. You must do this within 30 days of the certificate being issued. You can be refunded for the cost of a DBS Update Service check by following the procedure here, providing that the requirement for the check has been appropriately authorised by your line manager.