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DBS Information for Students and Applicants

The Disclosure and Barring Service check was previously known as the CRB. The check is mandatory for students who are required to work with children or vulnerable adults as part of their university studies.

DBS checks as a mandatory part of the application for a programme

For those who have applied for a professional programme such as Health, Social Work and Education programmes, the DBS check is a mandatory part of the application process.  An offer to study one of these programmes will not be made unconditional until a satisfactory DBS check has been completed. 

Applicants who are offered a place on a professional programme will be automatically invited to initiate their DBS application.  Details of this are provided in your offer letter. To complete a DBS check, the applicant must provide sufficient documents to verify their identity and current address.  A list of valid documents is sent to all applicants along with their invite.

DBS checks for a mandatory university placement

Some non-professional Northumbria programmes, such as Applied Sport and Exercise, have a mandatory placement module which includes students taking part in regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. In such cases a member of staff from the Faculty in question will contact the DBS Coordination Team to arrange DBS checks for eligible students.  The DBS team will arrange appropriate DBS application sessions and invite students, as well as send information regarding valid documents for identity verification.

DBS checks for optional university placements

There are programmes which include the option for students to complete a placement module. Occasionally students opt to arrange a placement which will require a DBS check.

In these circumstances the student will need to contact the DBS Coordination team at so that eligibility can be established.  Once the DBS team is sure of eligibility an appointment will be arranged where the student can complete a DBS application.

DBS checks for research students

Students conducting research with children or vulnerable groups are also required to have an enhanced DBS check, which must be completed before commencement of the research activity.   The DBS certificate number will be required for ethical approval.  The DBS certificate needs to be within the last three years of the research commencement date, otherwise a new check will need to be completed.  Please complete the Research Student DBS Risk Assessment Tool and contact the DBS Coordination team at to check eligibility and make arrangements to complete a DBS application.


Do I require a DBS application?

Professional programmes such as Health, Social Work and Education require a DBS as a mandatory part of the application process. If you have applied to study a programme which requires a DBS application you will be instructed as part of the application process that a DBS is needed. Other programmes such as Sport Development or History may include a placement where a DBS is required, if this is the case your faculty will advise you contact the DBS Coordination Team to complete a DBS application.  

Should your programme of study requires a satisfactory DBS check, you must complete the DBS application before you enrol with us. If you don’t, you will not be able to start your course.

How do I apply

The University uses an online application process, part of this process includes a mandatory face to face ID check. Before each major intake for professional programmes, successful applicants will be invited to attend a session where DBS applications will be completed. For programmes which include a placement, the DBS check will be arranged on an ad hoc basis in conjunction with the placement team in the relevant Faculty. If you think you require a DBS check for your programme or placement, contact the DBS Coordination Team for more information here.

What if I cannot attend in person

If you are unable to attend on the date of the DBS checking session listed for your programme, the Post Office provides a ‘Document Certification’ service. You can find further information on this method at . The University covers the cost of enhanced DBS checks where this is a mandatory requirement, but if you choose not to attend a DBS checking session in person, we will not reimburse you the cost of using the Post Office’s service. The Post Office will issue you with certified copies of your identification documentation – please send these to us at:


DBS Team, Registry Services

Pandon Building

Camden Street

Northumbria University

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST

United Kingdom

What documents do I need for a DBS application

You must bring at least 3 hard copy documents to confirm your identification and your address. We cannot accept electronic versions - if you don’t bring the correct documentation, we will not be able to complete the check. 

Examples of identification document:

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence- full or provisional (if applicable)
  • Original Birth Certificate (dated less than

 Examples of address verification:

  • 12 months from birth date)
  • Bank Statement (less than 3 months old)
  • Student finance letter (less than 1 year old)

 You can find a full list of the documentation you can use on the ‘’ website pages on DBS checks ‘’ website pages

How long does my DBS last

There is no official expiry date for DBS checks, this is because the information is only completely accurate at the time the certificate is issued.  However there are guidelines which we adhere to when it comes to how long your DBS Certificate will last. If you study a professional programme where the DBS is mandatory then the DBS Certificate you receive at the start of your programme will last you for the duration of your programme unless you step off or repeat a year. Students studying professional programmes will be required to make a self-declaration of criminal convictions at the beginning of each academic year to ensure they have not committed any offences since their DBS Certificate was issued.

Is my DBS transferable?

DBS checks are not transferrable, however the Disclosure and Barring Service have initiated a scheme called the DBS Update Service.  This is an annual subscription service designed to make your DBS portable. There are restrictions and limitations to this service and there is charge to the applicant. You can find more information on the DBS update service here.

Is there a cost to apply

The cost of the DBS checks will be covered by the University for all mandatory requirements of professional programmes, requirements on mandatory placements, and from 2019/20 for requirements on optional placement activity on programmes. The DBS Coordination Team can contacted for any further guidance here

DBS checks for a mandatory university placement

If your DBS check is a mandatory part of your application you will be asked to declare all criminal convictions on your UCAS application. Our admissions team will then contact you for further details of this conviction. The Admissions Panel will make a decision based on the information given as to whether your application should be progressed.

If your application is progressed you will then be asked to complete a DBS Check application. If you expect a caution or conviction to show on your DBS check you should ensure that you complete the DBS application as soon as possible. Once we have received notification that a DBS check has been returned 'Containing Information' then the applicant will be asked to submit a written statement giving details of the circumstances.

All declarations of convictions, cautions or reprimands are taken seriously, however having one (more more) does not necessarily mean you will be prevented from studying the programme.  All checks which Contain Information such as a caution or conviction will be considered by the University’s DBS Panel.

The Panel will seek advice from the Faculty placement area and make a decision on whether you can take part in a placement and therefore if you're suitable to study the programme. If you are worried about declaring a possible conviction, caution or reprimand, you can contact the DBS Coordination Team for more advice here.

What do I do if I have lost my DBS certificate

It is important that students look after their DBS certificate.  Because of the nature of the DBS check a re-print cannot be issued for lost or damaged certificates, instead anyone who loses their DBS certificate will need to re-apply, and regardless of the programme, the cost will need to be covered by the applicant. 

Please click here for the payment of your new DBS application.  The DBS Coordination Team will receive confirmation of your payment and will be in touch with further information

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