DBS Checks for Universities

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With many students returning to university in the next month or so, we wanted to cover the topic of universities and look at the different types of check that both staff and possibly students may need.

Using our extensive knowledge of working with organisations in the education sector, we will explain the different levels of check and which roles require which level of check within a university.


What are different levels of DBS Check?

There are 3 levels of DBS Check:

Basic: A Basic DBS Check is for people working in England and Wales and will detail any unspent convictions on the applicant’s certificate. There are no requirements for this check, and it can be obtained for any purpose including employment.

Standard: A Standard DBS Check will not only reveal any unspent convictions that an applicant has but also any spent convictions as well as any cautions, reprimands or warnings. A full list of job roles that are eligible for a Standard check can be found in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 here.

Enhanced: An Enhanced DBS Check is the highest level of DBS Check available and will reveal both spent and unspent convictions along with any cautions, reprimands and warnings. As well as this, the police may also include any information that they believe to be relevant to the role that the person is applying for.

This check is typically for people working in regulated activity with children and/or vulnerable adults such as those in receipt of healthcare or personal care. An individual cannot apply for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check. You can find the list of eligible roles for an Enhanced DBS Check here.


Are university staff eligible for DBS Check?

University lecturers are not eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check as they are not involved in any regulated activity with students. However, universities may ask their staff to carry out a Basic DBS Check to enable them to make a safer recruitment decision on the individual.

A staff member will only be eligible for a higher-level check if their role involves working with children under the age of 18 or if the role is listed in Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002.

Please follow your university safeguarding policies and guidelines for more information.


Are university students eligible for DBS Check?

Not every university student needs a DBS Check. Some placements require working with children and vulnerable adults and for those applying for programmes such as healthcare, social work and education programmes, DBS Check will be mandatory.

There are other roles which may require you to complete a DBS Check, but the level of check will depend on where you will work during this placement. You should be guided by your university, employer, or organisation as to whether you will need to complete a DBS Check.

If you are eligible for a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, your employer/organisation will apply for this check on your behalf. In some cases, the university will apply for a DBS Check for you as the placement is being carried out as part of your studies.

If you are asked to get a Basic DBS check for yourself, you can apply here. 


Are university students eligible for volunteer DBS Checks?

Students will not be eligible for a volunteer check if:

  • They benefit directly from the position for which the DBS application is being submitted 
  • Are on a work placement 
  • Are on a course that requires them to do this job role 
  • Are in a trainee position that will lead to a full-time role/qualification

In most cases, DBS check will be obtained as part of the work placement process. Therefore, students will not be eligible for a discounted volunteer check. 



When applying for a DBS Check, you must ensure that you are applying for the correct level of check. If your placement requires working with children or vulnerable adultsyou will need a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check which can only be requested through an employer, organisation or the university itself.

They can also apply for a Basic DBS Check on your behalf but if you have been asked to complete one, you can do this yourself on our website by clicking here.

If you still require assistance, our client administrators are on hand to assist you so please give us a call on 01978510100, get in touch using the button below or use the live chat facility.

If you are an organisation or university looking to start requesting DBS checks, please click on the Register for Free button. 


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If you’re looking for an experienced, industry leading DBS Umbrella Body, please click below to register

Still have questions?

If you’re unsure of what check you should be applying for or need any help, please get in touch