As a university student, you may need to complete a DBS Check in order to apply for certain courses, or if you are completing a placement that requires a DBS Check so you can perform the job role.
In order to advise you on DBS Checks for university, we've covered the following:
- What are the different types of DBS Checks?
- Which level of DBS Check can you get as a university student?
- Are university students eligible for Volunteer DBS Checks?
- How to get a DBS Check for university?
- Can you go to university with a criminal record in the UK?
What are the different types of DBS Checks?
Basic DBS Check – this type of check is available to all individuals, regardless of their sector of work. This level of check will search an individual’s criminal record history, revealing any unspent convictions.
Standard DBS Check – this level of check is only available for organisations or companies who will complete the check on behalf of an individual in order to make a recruitment suitability decision. This level of check will search an individual’s criminal history and will reveal any cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions.
Enhanced DBS Check – alike a Standard DBS Check, this type of check must be completed on an individual's behalf and also checks an individual’s criminal record for cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions, although it may also check if the individual is on the DBS’s Children’s and/or Adult barred list. Local police forces are able to add relevant information they hold on the applicant.
Volunteer DBS Check – we are able to process Standard or Enhanced DBS Checks for a discounted rate for volunteers. These Checks reveal the same from an individual’s criminal history as outlined in the above Enhanced DBS Check or Standard DBS Check
Which level of DBS Check can you get as a university student?
There is different eligibility criteria for each level of DBS Check. You must meet the eligibility criteria for the level of DBS Check you’re applying for in order to process an application, even if you are on a placement and not performing the job role full time. A general outline of the eligibility criteria for each DBS Check can be found below:
Basic DBS Check – there are no eligibility requirements for a Basic DBS Check. Anybody can purchase a DBS Check for themselves at any time, despite their job role.
Standard DBS Check – there are specific job roles that allow an employer to process a Standard DBS Check application on your behalf. Some examples of these job roles are:
- Positions in the Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority or the Bank of England, or organisations acting on their behalf
- Football stewards
- Applying for the membership of the Master Locksmiths Association
- On entry to the profession of veterinary surgeon
- On entry to the profession of barrister (in England and Wales) or solicitor
- Judges’ clerks, secretaries and legal secretaries
- RSPCA staff who carry out humane killing of animals
For a full list of job roles that meet the eligibility criteria for a Standard DBS, click here.
Additionally, if you meet the eligibility criteria for an Enhanced DBS Check (see below), you can process a Standard DBS Check if your employer requires it instead.
Enhanced DBS Check – in order to process an Enhanced DBS Check, you must meet the eligibility criteria dependant on the job role and the types of people they work with: children, adults or ‘others’.
When working with children, you could be eligible if your role conforms with ‘regulated activity’ (a role that involves working with children), in specialist environments alongside children (i.e. schools, colleges, care homes etc), either at least 4 times in a 30-day period, or at least once a week.
When working with adults, you must be performing specific job roles in order to be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check (i.e. healthcare professional, social work, household assistant and more)
The DBS allow some other job roles, where you aren’t working with children or adults, to also be eligible for an Enhanced DBS Check. These include taxi drivers, those who apply for licenses to run gambling premises, and more.
Are university students eligible for Volunteer DBS Checks?
In order to apply for the discounted Volunteer DBS Check, you must ensure that you meet the DBS eligibility of what being a ‘volunteer’ means.
The DBS define a volunteer as:
“Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative”.
If you are applying for a Volunteer DBS Check as part of your university course on a work placement, a qualification, a course, or performing the job role as experience that will later become a full-time position, even if this work is unpaid, you are not eligible for a Volunteer DBS Check.
How to get a DBS check for university?
If you are a student completing a placement, it is likely that the employer, university or organisation where you will work throughout your course will inform you if you need a DBS Check. If you require a Basic DBS Check, you can purchase this online here. If you require a Standard or Enhanced DBS Check, an employer must process this on your behalf.
Can you go to university with a criminal record in the UK?
UCAS no longer require university applicants to declare unspent convictions (as of 2019) unless the applicant is going to be completing courses or studying to perform a role where they would require an Enhanced DBS Check.
For more information on going to University with a criminal record in the UK, please click here.
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