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University of Bath

DBS checks: guidance for line managers

Use the guidance to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place at all times.

Allowing applicants to start work

Remember that applicants will not able to start work until an acceptable disclosure has been received back from the DBS.

  • Enhanced DBS - Groups 2, 3, 4 & 5 - In exceptional situations, following a risk assessment by the recruiting manager, an individual may start work before a disclosure is received but with full supervision and safeguards at all times until clearance is received.

  • Basic DBS only - Group 6 checks: applicants are not able to start until a DBS check has been initiated. They may then start work with additional supervision and safeguards until clearance is received.

What you need to do as a line manager

1. Find out if a position in your team requires a DBS check 

If the position does not appear on this list, for core or hourly paid positions, you can use the flowchart to decide whether the anticipated position is eligible for a DBS check and also what type of check is required.

The University is only able to request a DBS check for positions designated as requiring a DBS check. If you are unsure whether a DBS check is necessary for a position in your department, contact HR.

2. How to initiate a DBS check

Once you know that a DBS check is required and the type of check, please contact your designated HR Co-ordinator with the following information:

  • Applicant name

  • Position name

  • Department name

  • Type of check (Group 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6)

  • Contact details for applicant (email/postal address/phone number)

The HR Co-ordinator will then provide the appropriate guidance to the applicant on the DBS application process.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now using an online provider to administer DBS checks on our behalf on an interim basis. Active Background Checks is an Umbrella Body, registered by the DBS to carry out DBS checks. Applicants will be required to follow this guidance when applying for either a new DBS check or a DBS renewal and will not be required to collect a paper application form from HR to initiate the process.

Blank DBS forms can be collected from HR (Wessex House 3.22) though the manager will need to validate that the check is required. Basic DBS checks must be applied for online.

If the applicant is already registered for the DBS Update Service via the University, they will need to let their designated HR Administrator know as they may not then need to submit a DBS application form if the check is at the right level and type of 'workforce' for the role. Find out more on the GOV.UK DBS update service.

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

3. Know the timescales for DBS checks

The processing times can vary, but typically are between 2 and 4 weeks. The speed of processing does depend upon the form being filled in correctly. Errors on the form can cause significant delays.

4. Dealing with the outcome from the check

The outcome from the DBS check is only sent to the applicant and not to the University.  The applicant will need to bring their original DBS certificate to their designated HR Administrator so that it can be validated. Satisfactory clearance can only be achieved when they have signed and verified the original certificate.

Once validated, HR will then enter the applicant's DBS details onto iTrent (which includes the certificate disclosure number, date of check and level of check), and an email will be sent to the applicant and you, as their line manager, to confirm that these details have been entered on the system. Once updated, managers who have access to Manager Self Service (MSS) will be able to view this information via the "Checks" link in MSS.

Should you receive a DBS certificate back that you are concerned about, contact the HR Operations Manager who will be able to advise you.

5. DBS renewals

Prior to the expiry of the applicant's DBS check, they will receive an email informing them that they need to initiate a new DBS check. You will also receive an email informing you of this requirement. It is your responsibility as the applicant's line manager, to ensure that this check is initiated and that a DBS check is in place prior to the expiry of their current DBS certificate.