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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 be able to start work until an acceptable disclosure has been received back from the DBS.

Types of DBS checks

  • Standard and Enhanced (including Barring Lists) DBS Checks (Groups 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5) - In exceptional situations, following a risk assessment by the recruiting manager, an applicant may start work before a disclosure is received but with full supervision and safeguards in place at all times until clearance is received.

  • Basic DBS Checks (Group 6): applicants are not able to start until a DBS check has been initiated. They may then start work with additional supervision and safeguards in place until clearance is received.

What you need to do as a line manager

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

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

The University is only legally able to request a DBS check for roles designated as requiring a DBS check. If a role in your department does not appear on this list and you are unsure whether a DBS check is necessary, please contact your relevant HR Co-ordinator.

2. How to initiate a DBS check

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

  • Applicant name

  • Position name

  • Department name

  • Type of check (Group 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6)

  • Contact details for applicant (email and phone number)

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

If the applicant is already registered for the DBS Update Service via the University, they will need to let their relevant HR Co-ordinator know as they may not 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 webpage.

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 range from 2-5 days in most cases to up to 8 weeks. The speed of processing does depend upon the online form being filled in correctly. Errors on the form can cause significant delays.

4. Dealing with the outcome of the check

Once the applicant's DBS check has been completed, they will receive an email notifying them of this and their DBS disclosure certificate will be sent out to them in the post. Their HR Co-ordinator will also receive an email confirming the status of their check and will input these details onto iTrent (i.e. certificate disclosure number, date of check and level of check).

Once updated, managers who have access to Manager Self Service (MSS) will be able to view this information via the 'Checks' link in MSS.

If HR receive a DBS disclosure back that is of concern, a member of the HR Team, normally the HR Operations Manager, will contact you to advise on the next steps.

5. DBS renewals

DBS checks at the University are valid for three years.

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.