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DBS Information for Students and Applicants

The Disclosure and Barring Service 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 inviteStudents who interrupt their studies will need a DBS recheck when recommencing study.

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. Further information is available via the Student Portal once on programme.

DBS checks for research students

Students conducting research with children or vulnerable groups are required to have an enhanced DBS check with the DBS certificate number will be required for ethical approval.  Applicants to the Ethics online system should not upload their DBS certificate, instead the DBS number and level (standard or enhanced) should be added in relevant section. The DBS check needs to be in place ahead of the commencement date of any regulated activity within the project - this should be instigated approx. 2-6 months in advance to avoid potential delays to the regulated activity.  The DBS check must remain valid for the expected duration of the regulated activity and must be repeated after 3 years.  Currently valid DBS checks for staff or students do not have to be repeated for each research project undertaken unless the dates of the regulated activity within the project extend beyond the three year expiry limit on the current DBS check, in which case, a repeat DBS check will be required in advance of its expiry. This should be scheduled into the project plan at an early stage to ensure it complies with the Safeguarding Policy requirements.  Research students who interrupt their studies will also need their DBS check to be repeated when their studies recommence.

Guidance and Support for Researchers Ethical concerns and risks should be identified and addressed within the ethics application submitted for review and approval at prior to the project commencing. Information to support staff and students is available on the Research Ethics and Integrity pages. When in need of further guidance, researchers should seek guidance from their Departmental Ethics Lead in the first instance, referring on to the Faculty Research Ethics Director, and/or the Research Ethics and Integrity Manager for particularly complex or unusual cases.


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.

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.

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

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

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. Should you interrupt your studies or if regulated activity continues beyond three years, a DBS recheck will be required.

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.

The cost of the DBS checks will be covered by the University for all mandatory requirements of professional programmes, and for requirements on optional placement activity. However, if there is a change in your details (name change or an address change) then you will incur a fee.  The DBS Coordination Team can contacted for any further guidance.

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.

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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