DBS Application Process

If obtaining a satisfactory DBS check is a condition of your offer of a place at the University of Birmingham, your offer letter will specify this and the standard procedure below will normally apply. 

Please be aware that the DBS process, for applicants who firmly accept an offer of a place, has been postponed in light of the current situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Please do not send any documentation through the post or visit the campus to present your documentation, as our staff will not be available to receive these. Please be reassured that we will do everything we can to minimise any disruption in your ability to meet this condition, and we will be in contact with further information in due course.  For information about the current situation please visit our FAQ page on COVID-19 which we will keep updated as the situation develops. 

CORONAVIRUS (COVID 19) latest updates and FAQs

1: DBS Pack

A DBS pack will be sent by post to all applicants who accept an offer of a place. Packs are normally posted out on a rolling basis from January onwards. 

Applicants domiciled outside of the UK will need to provide a local Police check/Police certificate of good conduct prior to being accepted on to the programme. Non UK domiciled applicants will need to complete a DBS application upon arrival in the UK at the start of the programme.

The DBS pack will contain the following:

  • DBS application form (Enhanced or Standard) and continuation sheets (for additional addresses)
  • Covering letter
  • Information sheet regarding the documents that must be provided for a DBS check
  • Consent form
  • Pre printed envelope marked ‘DBS application form/Police check’ (for the return of the DBS application form, supporting documents and payment. Also, for the submission of a Police check/certificate of good conduct if domiciled overseas)
  • Pre printed envelope marked ‘DBS disclosure certificate’ (on receipt of the disclosure certificate from the DBS, applicants are required to send their original disclosure certificate to the Admissions Office)

2: Essential information

On receipt of the DBS pack, it is essential that applicants read the University’s covering letter BEFORE completing the DBS application form in BLACK ink. Reference to the DBS publication ‘An Applicant’s guide to completing the DBS application form’ may also be helpful. 

Applicants should also pay close attention to the information sheet regarding the documents that are required in order for the DBS check to be carried out. Failure to submit the correct documents to the University will delay the application from being processed. Please see the section ‘Documents you must provide for your DBS check’.

NB Only original documentation will be accepted, so please do not send photocopies.

Before returning your DBS application, please make a note of your form reference number. You will be able to use your form reference number to track the progress of your DBS application once it has been received at the DBS. For more information, please refer to section 4 below.

3: Applicants with DBS certificates registered with the DBS Update Service

We may be able to consider existing DBS certificates where applicants have registered their existing certificate with the DBS Update Service. We can only consider certificates registered with the DBS Update Service where the original certificate is at the exact same level as is required by the programme of study (Standard or Enhanced with the correct work force and with the correct barred list information).

4: What's required (by post or to the Admissions Reception)

Applicants should return the following by post, or to the Admissions Reception, in the envelope marked ‘DBS application form/Police check’:

  • Correctly completed DBS application form
  • Continuation sheets (if used)
  • Original documentation to confirm identity
  • DBS Privacy Information form
  • Payment - a copy of the online payment receipt made via the University website

Should you wish to bring your documents to the Admissions Office reception the original documents will be photocopied and handed back immediately.

5: Processing the DBS application form

On receipt of the above the DBS administrator will check the DBS application form for completeness and accuracy; that the relevant original ID documentation has been provided; that the consent form has been completed and returned; and payment has been made. If the form is complete, correct and the appropriate documents have been submitted, the application will be signed off by a Counter signatory and sent to the DBS by post to be processed.

As it can take Admissions up to 28 days to process applications during busier periods, applicants should allow at least 10-15 working days (after they receive their documents back) before attempting to track the progress of an application via the DBS online tracking service (note that the form reference number, found on the top right hand side of the DBS application form, will be needed in order to utilise the DBS online tracking service. 

NB If any errors have been made on the DBS application form, or insufficient/inappropriate documents have been submitted, this will delay the application form from being processed and sent to the DBS by Admissions and applicants will be contacted accordingly.

6: Return of original documents to applicants

The Admissions Office will return original documents to applicants by standard first class post, normally within 28 days from receipt. Applicants are welcome to include a prepaid recorded delivery envelope with their DBS application form/original ID documents, so that documents can be returned by recorded post. Please note, the University will not take responsibility for documents lost in the post.

7: Disclosure certificate process

The DBS will post the Disclosure certificate directly to the applicant. Processing by the DBS can take on average 4-6 weeks, although it can take longer during their peak period (between June and September). On receipt of the disclosure certificate it is recommended that applicants consider registering their disclosure with the DBS Update Service, applicants have 30 days from the date of issue in which to do this. 

As the University no longer receives a copy of the disclosure certificate from the DBS, it is essential that applicants send the original disclosure certificate to Admissions in the pre-printed envelope marked ‘DBS disclosure certificate’

NB Until we receive the original Disclosure certificate, an offer will remain conditional on the receipt of a satisfactory DBS check and an applicant may be prevented from registering and commencing their programme.

8: DBS administrator process & Adverse DBS disclosure Certificate process

On receipt of an applicant’s original DBS disclosure certificate, the DBS administrator will check that the disclosure is clear and where this is the case the relevant Admissions staff will be informed so that the DBS condition can be passed. The original disclosure certificate will be returned to the applicant and the DBS administrator will keep a copy which will be retained in line with the University’s Data Protection Policy. Any adverse disclosure certificate will be returned by the University using the Royal Mail Special Delivery service.

If the disclosure certificate does reveal any convictions, cautions, reprimands, final warnings etc., it will be referred to the relevant academic Department for consideration.

The details stated on the disclosure certificate will be forwarded by the DBS administrator to a named administrator within the academic Department by encrypted email. All information will be anonymised before being passed to the relevant Admissions Tutor or panel for consideration. 

In deciding whether to permit an applicant to proceed on to their chosen programme, the relevant academic Department may consider the following:

  • The seriousness of the offence and its potential relevance to the course
  • The length of time since the offence occurred
  • Any relevant information offered by the applicant about the circumstances which led to the offence being committed
  • Whether the offence was a one-off, or part of a history of offending
  • The degree of remorse, or otherwise, expressed by the applicant and their motivation to change 

If a decision cannot be reached by the relevant academic Department based on the information provided then further details may be required and the applicant will be contacted accordingly.  The Department will consider any further details which the applicant provides and will decide to allow the application to proceed or refer it to a panel to consider the matter further.

If the panel decide that the offence(s) on the disclosure may warrant the refusal of admission to the chosen programme, the applicant will be invited to attend an interview to explain the circumstances of the offence(s) and offer any evidence in mitigation.

If the University’s decision is to refuse admission, then the reasons why the applicant cannot be admitted to their chosen programme will be made clear. The University’s decision will be communicated to the applicant in writing.