Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks

This page tells you more about Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for university students, why you might need to get one, and how you go about doing this.

What is the Disclosure and Barring Service?

The Disclosure and Barring Service acts as a 'one stop-shop' for organisations, checking police records and, in relevant cases, information held by the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).

The DBS service enables organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors to make safer recruitment decisions by identifying candidates who may be unsuitable for certain work, especially those involving children and vulnerable adults.

Who requires a DBS check for studying with Anglia Ruskin University?

A DBS Enhanced disclosure is a compulsory requirement of any offer to study on courses which require you to work with children and/or vulnerable adults. This check will confirm whether you have any criminal convictions, cautions or reprimands registered against you, and is necessary to protect both you and the public against people who are unsuitable to work with children and/or vulnerable adults. It is also to confirm that you will be able to register with the relevant professional body on completion of your studies.

Courses listed below all have a compulsory DBS Enhanced Level clearance requirement to be obtained through ARU prior to the start of the course.

It is imperative that if you receive a reprimand, caution or conviction whilst studying on your course that you contact the DBS Team immediately on 01245 684984 or email [email protected].

How do I get a DBS check?

Once you have received and firmly accepted your conditional or unconditional offer, you will be emailed guidance on how to apply for your DBS through the ARU online DBS Provider, Complete Background Screening (CBS).

The email will provide further guidance on how to complete your application via the CBS website. As part of your DBS application you may be required to provide and submit three original identity documents for verification.

To ensure this process can be completed in a timely manner, CBS offers a digital ID verification method through their partner company Yoti. The digital ID method usually requires either a current UK passport or photo driving licence and is the quickest and easiest method of verification. Please note, the digital ID option is currently not available to non-UK passport or driving licence holders.

For applicants that are unable to verify their ID digitally, the Post Office can verify your identity documentation. You will need to take your ORIGINAL identity documents together with the ID Verification form (available from your CBS account after application submission) to a Crown Post Office.

International applicants who cannot verify their ID via the digital or Post Office option, please contact the DBS Team for further advice.

ARU will cover the cost of your DBS application fee. Please note there will be a charge of £12 for ID verification via the Post Office.

The average DBS processing time is five working days, however, some applications can take longer. You can track the status of your DBS application via the CBS platform.

The disclosure certificate is a very important document which should be kept securely. ARU does not receive copies and the only copy goes to you. If you lose your DBS Enhanced disclosure certificate you will be required to apply for another at your own expense.

Be prepared for your placement to ask to see your DBS Enhanced disclosure certificate. Please do not allow anyone to keep hold of your disclosure certificate as you may need to refer to it multiple times throughout the course.

Should your DBS disclosure certificate show a conviction, caution, reprimand, warning or additional information or you receive an offence whilst on course please contact the DBS Team immediately for further advice and guidance on 01245 684984 or [email protected].

If ARU does not receive confirmation of your DBS clearance you will not be permitted to attend practice which will impact on your continuation on the course.

Can I use a DBS disclosure I already have?

If you already hold a DBS at the Enhanced level that is registered to the Online Update Service (OUS), please submit a clear scan to [email protected] for verification.

The DBS service provides the Online Update Service. This will allow you to register your disclosure certificate for an annual fee of £13 enabling your DBS to become transferable. This allows you to take your disclosure certificate from role to role, within the same workforce, where the same type and level clearance is required; it greatly reduces the need to apply for multiple disclosure certificates.

ARU supports the DBS Online Update Service and will accept Enhanced disclosures registered on the update service under set criteria. The disclosure certificate must be checked under the required workforce for your course and must be at Enhanced Level. To verify your certificate with ARU you must send a scanned/photo image of your original disclosure certificate to the DBS Team at [email protected].

If you wish to register a DBS certificate or require further information on the OUS, please visit www.gov.uk/dbs.

Certificates can only be registered to the Update Service within 30 calendar days of the ‘date of issue’ printed on the certificate.

Applicants living overseas

If you have lived overseas for more than six months within the last five years, you will be required to undertake a separate overseas criminal records check. You will be contacted by CBS to complete the overseas application process.

Please note, for overseas applicants undertaking a taught programme within the UK, you will need to complete a UK DBS check. Please only complete the check once you have your UK address along with evidence of this.

You will not be permitted to attend placement until the UK DBS Enhanced disclosure certificate is received and verified.

What should I do if I have a reprimand, caution or conviction?

ARU is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people and vulnerable adults who access its activities or services. To achieve this we require all of our offer holders to complete either a Criminal Conviction Declaration or an Enhanced DBS disclosure.

Once a declaration has been made our DBS Team will contact you to request a statement of events. You should include as much detail as possible about the events leading up to and the receipt of the reprimand, caution or conviction including the outcomes (costs/fines etc) and the insights you have gained from the experience.

The information provided will be risk assessed and kept securely under ARU's Storage and Retention policy. Recommendations will be made and reviewed with Director of Studies or Dean of the faculty. You may be contacted and requested to submit a further independent reference and any court/police related information on the offence.

All positive declarations made for Social Work, Paramedic Science, Medicine, and Primary Education with QTS courses will automatically be reviewed by a DBS Panel consisting of Director of Studies or Dean of the Faculty, designated relevant faculty staff and professional external bodies. Two professional character references will be requested along with the statement of events.

The DBS Panel will assess the information and make a decision. You will be contacted by the DBS Team in writing with the outcome. This could be that your application is withdrawn, deferred or that you are able to continue.

You will be required to submit a copy of your Enhanced DBS to the DBS Team to verify this against your statement of events. If there are any discrepancies between the information previously provided in your statement and the information displayed on your DBS certificate a further assessment or panel will be conducted. You will be contacted by the DBS Team in writing with the final outcome.

It is imperative that if you receive a reprimand, caution or conviction whilst studying on your course that you contact the DBS Team immediately on 01245 684984 or email [email protected].

Filtering of old and minor offences

Legislation linked to the filtering of offences was introduced in May 2013 when amendments were made to legislation that affected both what an employer can ask an individual in relation to convictions and cautions (for example a self-declaration on an application form of ‘do you have any convictions’), and what is disclosed on a Standard or Enhanced DBS certificate.

These rules were updated in November 2020 as follows:

  • warnings, reprimands and youth cautions will no longer be automatically disclosed on a DBS certificate
  • the multiple conviction rule has been removed, meaning that if an individual has more than one conviction, regardless of offence type or time passed, each conviction will be considered against the remaining rules individually, rather than all being automatically disclosed.

An additional change was made in October 2023:

  • all unspent conditional cautions and convictions (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) will be automatically disclosed.

Further guidance on the potential impact of these changes can be found in the filtering scenario guidance at DBS filtering guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Positions where filtering does not apply

If the position/occupation is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended) but not subject to filtering, the employer is entitled to ask about, and receive information about, all spent convictions and cautions.

The DBS Recheck process

(Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work students only)
All students studying Nursing and Midwifery courses will be required to complete a DBS and Good Health Declaration form at the beginning of each progression year of their course. This will be provided by email with a survey link attached.

Social Work students are required to register their DBS Certificate with the Online Update Service and will be responsible for covering the £13 annual fee for the service. If the DBS is not registered within the required timeframe, a new DBS application will be required.

If ARU does not receive confirmation of your subscription to the Online Update Service you will not be permitted to attend practice which will impact on your continuation on the course. Further information on the Online Update Service can be found at www.gov.uk/dbs.

Intermitting students

If you have intermitted from your course of study you must ensure you have a valid DBS Enhanced disclosure in place before you can return to training.

If you already hold a valid DBS disclosure certificate which has been completed through ARU at Enhanced Level and is less than 12 months old on the date that you return to your course, or an Enhanced DBS certificate which meets all the requirements for your course and is registered to the Online Update Service this may be accepted.

You will be advised 8-12 weeks prior to your return date and provided with a DBS online link should you require a new DBS disclosure certificate. Please complete this as promptly as possible as without clearance you will be unable to attend any of your placements and this could jeopardise the completion of your course.

Research students

If you are applying for ethical approval via the online research ethics system, you will be asked if you need a DBS check for your research. The DBS Team will then ask you to complete a brief survey to confirm if a DBS check is required for your research project.

If you have an existing DBS check, this may be used for your research project and the DBS Team will confirm once you have completed the survey.

If you require a new DBS check, the DBS Team will provide full guidance on how to complete a new DBS application.

If you are an overseas student undertaking research as part of an ARU programme you may be required to undertake either a UK DBS check, an Overseas Criminal Records Check or both checks. The DBS Team will confirm for you on receipt of your survey questionnaire.

Please note you will not be given ethical approval until your School Research Ethics Panel (SREP) or Faculty Research Ethics Panel (FREP) has confirmation from the DBS Office that you have had a satisfactory DBS check. Please do not send the SREP/FREP your DBS check. The SREP/FREP will contact the DBS Team directly.

Storage and retention of DBS disclosures

All DBS information is retained in line with the University's storage and retention policy.

How to contact us

If you have any questions relating to DBS please contact our DBS Team.