Disclosure and Barring Service Checks (DBS)

What will delay my application?

Where there are multiple mistakes or queries with your DBS application, this lengthens the process, so please attend the webinar/watch the video/go through the ‘Completing your DBS application correctly’ guide or contact us for further guidance to get this right first time.

Why haven’t I received my DBS pack?

If you haven’t received an unconditional offer, we will not be contacting you at this stage. Your offer may change to unconditional after results day or via clearing; therefore, you are more likely to hear from us then.

If you have received an unconditional offer, and we’re your first choice of University, we will be sending packs throughout June and July.

How/where can I submit my DBS application and ID, additional documents, or my DBS certificate?

The easiest and quickest way to submit your initial application and ID is via an appointment in person, as we can verify your likeness and resolve most queries with your application straight away. You will receive an email with details on how to book your appointment after you have been posted your DBS pack. 

If you are unable to attend a face-to-face appointment, you can submit your DBS application and ID into the silver DBS post box next to Infozone on the Ground Floor of the Waterfront Building. Or, you can send using the postal service. We recommend using recorded or special delivery so you can track your ID and they are less likely to get lost. The address to post your documents to is: The DBS Team, University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, Neptune Quay, Ipswich, IP4 1QJ. Please send via tracked delivery; if your certificate is lost in the post, you will need to complete a new DBS check, and this could delay you being ready for your course. During busy periods (June- August) where demand is high the team will prioritise face to face appointments.

How long will it be until I receive my ID back?

It may take up to 15 working days for us to return your ID to you (please note, our working days are Tuesday-Friday).

Can you confirm you’ve received my DBS application and ID, or my DBS certificate via post?

No, we are unable to confirm we have received your ID, DBS application or DBS certificate. However, you should have used tracking to send in your documents, therefore, please check the Royal Mail website who will be able to confirm this has been received by the University.

How long does it take for the Government Disclosure and Barring Service to complete their checks?

This varies; sometimes they issue a DBS certificate within a week, other times it can take weeks at each of the stages. You will be able to track your DBS application by using your form reference number (this begins with ‘F’). You will need to allow a week after your DBS application has been sent off before you can track this.

I’ve paid insufficient postage for my ID/certificate to arrive – what happens?

This will be returned to Royal Mail. You will then need to arrange the correct postage to ensure this is received. NB: this can significantly delay your DBS application and could stop you from starting placement on time. Therefore, we recommend you always use tracked delivery by going into the post office when posting us any of your documents.

Where will you return my ID/DBS certificate to?

When received by post, your ID will be returned to your current address as declared on your DBS application form, unless you have requested otherwise by including a note with your ID. Your DBS certificate will be returned to the address at the top of your certificate, unless you have included a note with your certificate. You can also collect your documents via Infozone, but you will need to include a note with your documents confirming this as your preferred collection method.

To which address will the Government Disclosure & Barring Service post my certificate?

To the address you have put as your current address on your form. We recommend you take note of this, as we do not retain this information, and you may have moved into your student address by the time your DBS certificate is issued.

What is the continuation sheet for? Do I need to complete this?

The continuation sheet is for any information which will not fit on your DBS application form e.g. additional names or addresses. There is also an additional information section if you need to explain anything on your DBS application form such as time spent living overseas. If you need to complete this, please ensure you enter your form reference number on both sides of the sheet. You must also complete the ‘Applicant’s details’ section. The signing box on this form is for office use only; you should only sign the box on your purple DBS application form, the privacy statement and the online consent form. One continuation sheet is provided in your DBS pack. If you need more than one, please print one

What is the privacy statement for? (Includes full list of minor amendments that may be made to your DBS application)

The privacy statement is where you give your permission for the Government Disclosure and Barring Service to complete a DBS check on you. Therefore, if this has not been completed and submitted to the University of Suffolk DBS Team, we will not be able to send off your DBS application until this has been received.

What is the online consent form?

You sign the online consent form to give your permission for the University of Suffolk DBS Team (and/or your placement providers) to check your DBS certificate against the Online Update Service. You are also agreeing you are responsible to keep this up to date, will make us aware of any changes, and understand that you may need to pay for a new DBS check to re-join the Online Update Service if your DBS certificate is no longer valid for the purpose of your course. 

  • Your DBS certificate could become invalid for the following reasons:
  • You have allowed your subscription to the Online Update Service to expire
  • You have had a name change
  • Information has been added or changed to your DBS status
  • You require a different level of check for your course e.g. you now need the Adult Barred List checked, but have only had the Child Barred List checked on your existing DBS certificate

You may be unable to attend practice until this has been resolved. You can make the University of Suffolk DBS Team aware of any of these changes by contacting us.

I’ve got 2 current addresses – my student address and my home address. Where should I put these on the DBS application form?

We must be able to verify your current address against your ID (please consult the Identity Guidelines for ID we are able to accept). Therefore, you will need to put the address you can provide evidence of as your current address. Please note, this is where your DBS certificate will be sent. Read further guidance.

How do I write my overseas address(es) or if I have had a period of time without an address on the DBS application form?

Please refer to the guidance.

Do I have to include all addresses from the last 5 years, even my student addresses?

Yes, you must include all addresses, including student and/or overseas addresses in the last 5 years of the date you sign your DBS application form.

What’s a face2face check?

The Government requires us to check your likeness against your photograph ID. Therefore, if you are applying for a DBS check by post, you will need to complete a virtual face2face check. 

We need to verify your original documents first. These will then be returned to you. Once there are no other queries with your DBS application, you need to book a virtual face2face appointment (you will be emailed the link for this). You must bring your original photographic ID which you provided with your DBS application to your virtual appointment. During your appointment, you will be asked a few security questions, then your photographic ID will be checked against the ones we have seen and your likeness.

For this purpose, we will scan your photographic ID and attach this to your University of Suffolk student record.

Usually, once this has been completed, your DBS application will be checked by our Countersignatory, then signed and sent to the Government Disclosure & Barring Service.

I’m not sure how to complete a section of the DBS application form correctly. Where can I find this information?

You should be able to find this information by attending or watching the webinar content for your course. You can also refer to the ‘Completing your DBS application correctly’ guide which is included in your DBS pack. A digital version is also available at the bottom of this page. If you have not been able to find the answer there, please contact us.

If you have lived overseas for a year or more, you will also need to provide the overseas equivalent to the UK DBS check to confirm you are suitable to work with children and/or vulnerable adults. We recommend you get your overseas check before coming to the UK, where possible. 

A new enhanced UK DBS check takes on average 10 weeks to complete. Overseas checks can take significantly longer than this. You will not be permitted to work with children and/or vulnerable adults for the purpose of your course until you have completed the DBS process. 

  • Further guidance on providing an overseas check

  • Your overseas check must be translated into English by a certified translator. Where a hard copy is produced, you must provide the original document. 

  • If you have been overseas in one Country for a year or more within 5 years of the date on your UK DBS application form, you will also need to provide an overseas check. Please follow the guidance above. 

Can I email you my ID? Or send a photocopy, clear picture or scan?

No. We are unable to accept copies or scans; we must see your original documents. Therefore, you must either present these in an appointment in person or send these to us by post.

Do you take copies of my ID?

We may take photocopies of your ID when there is a query (or queries) with your DBS application. This will always be destroyed in our confidential waste once the queries are resolved.

If you send your application and ID via post, we will usually scan your photographic ID and attach this to your University of Suffolk student record for the purpose of confirming your likeness via a virtual face2face check.

What do ID do I need to provide with my DBS application?

You must provide at least 3 forms of ID to verify your DBS application. These must confirm your identity and current address. You must provide photographic ID where possible and evidence of any name change(s) from the age of 10. One of these forms of ID must come from Group 1.

The other documents must also meet the criteria of the list above. Therefore, we recommend you provide 3 of the following (plus evidence of any name changes from the age of 10):

  • A passport
  • A driving licence (this can be a provisional licence)
  • A birth certificate (if issued within 12 months of birth and issued in the UK, Isle of Man & Channel Islands)
  • A bank statement (this must be printed by the bank in the last 3 months and have your current name and address on it)

You can provide other documents from the list, but you must ensure you meet the criteria set out by the Government.

This is also explained on the identity guidelines provided in your DBS pack which shows the requirements from the Government website. If you need any help on what forms of ID to provide, please contact us.

What do I need to provide for evidence of my name change(s)?

You can provide the following documents as evidence of your name change(s): birth certificate, marriage/civil partnership certificate, divorce/civil partnership dissolution certificate, and/or deed poll certificate.

Do I need to provide evidence of each name change?

Yes. You do not necessarily need to provide one document per name change, as long as we can verify all name changes, including the date the changes of name took place.

I am unable to come onto campus to complete a face to face appointment.

If you are isolating or shielding due to Covid please contact us to arrange a postal application. We will require you to send your application and ID via tracked delivery  as to ensure these are not lost or damaged, the University of Suffolk takes no responsibility for damaged or lost items.  Postal applications may take longer during busier periods (May-August) due to the high demand of courses requiring a DBS certificate for September, particularly if there are any mistakes/ queries on your application. Please ensure you check your emails regularly for any communication from the DBS Team regarding your application and an invite for a virtual appointment for a face2face check.

Will I be able to take my ID away with me?

Yes; we will verify your ID against your DBS application during your appointment. This means you will be able to take your ID away with you. If you need to provide further ID, you can either book another appointment or post this to us.

How do I book an appointment?

You will receive instructions on booking an appointment once we’ve sent you your DBS pack.

I’ve not received any confirmation of my appointment.

Please allow around half an hour for this to come through and check your junk/spam folder. You can also search for ‘libcal’. If no success after this, please contact us.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Please bring your completed DBS application form, completed privacy statement, completed online consent form and your original forms of ID. Please refer to the instructions and identity guidelines for the ID you need to provide, or contact us if you wish to check this.

Where will my appointment be?

Your confirmation email will provide full details of where to go for your appointment on campus. This will be in the main Infozone/ Student Life Area in the Waterfront Reception. To maintain social distancing measures, we ask that you arrive promptly for your appointment. If you are early you will need to wait outside the campus until your appointment time. 

How long will my appointment last?

Approximately 20 minutes whilst we verify your ID against your DBS application and your likeness and resolve any queries (where possible). We ask that you politely keep to your time appointment to allow the Team to clean and sanitise areas after use in preparation for the next appointment.

How do I cancel my appointment?

There will be a link in your confirmation email to cancel your appointment. Please allow half an hour for the confirmation of your cancellation to come through.

What should I do if I am running late for my appointment?

Email DBS@uos.ac.uk or ring the Waterfront Reception on 01473 338000. 

How can I track my DBS application? Where can I find my form reference number?

Once your DBS application has been sent to the Government Disclosure and Barring Service, it usually takes about a week for this to be uploaded. Once uploaded, you may track the progress of your DBS application using your form reference number located on the front of your DBS application. The University DBS Team will also track this and notify you of the next steps once your certificate has been posted to you. If not received within two weeks of the date your certificate was posted (dispatched), please contact the University of Suffolk DBS Team for advice.

I have received my DBS certificate; what do I do now?

Please register this with the Online Update Service: https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service For most of our courses, this is a requirement. Where it is not, it is recommended so you can use your DBS check with multiple placements/employers who require the same level of check (further information is given above). Once you have registered your DBS certificate with the Online Update Service, you must provide your original DBS certificate to the University of Suffolk DBS Team; we cannot accept copies or scans.

I haven’t received my DBS certificate yet. What should I do?

If you have been told by the University of Suffolk DBS Team that your certificate has been sent to you, please allow up to 2 weeks for this to arrive. If it has not arrived after 2 weeks, please contact us. If you have not been told by us that your certificate is on it’s way, you can track this using your form reference number from your DBS application. Otherwise, you may still have outstanding queries with your DBS application. Please check your email to check you haven’t missed anything from us. 

Will my certificate be sent to my home address or halls address?

Your DBS certificate will be sent to the address which you put as current when you submitted your DBS application form.

What should I do if I move before I receive my DBS certificate?

If your application has already been sent to the Government Disclosure & Barring Service, you will need to set up for your post to be forwarded to your new address. You can contact us to check if you’re not sure. 

If your DBS application has not been sent yet, you will need to provided evidence of your new address (such as a bank statement printed by the bank or a utility bill). The University of Suffolk DBS Team will need to verify your new address before your DBS application can be sent off.

Do you keep a copy of my certificate?

No. We do not keep copies, we only retain specific information needed for the purpose of your course.

Can I request a copy of my certificate? What happens if I lose it?

We do not hold copies of your DBS certificate. We may be able to provide you with your certificate number, date, level of check, and name of employer on your certificate. All such requests need to be made directly from your University of Suffolk student email.

If you lose your DBS certificate before you show this to the University of Suffolk DBS Team, you will need to complete a new DBS check. Likewise, if you lose your original certificate and need to show this to your placement provider or employer. 

I have an existing DBS certificate; can you accept this?

We may be able to. For most courses, this must be registered with the Online Update Service, so we can complete a live check on your DBS status. We will also need to check if it’s the right level of check for your course (it may need to be an Enhanced check, which has also been checked against the Adult and Child Barred List, for example. But this depends on the type of your placement and your course requirements). Therefore, if you have an existing DBS check, please contact us so we can check if this is acceptable.

I’m coming through clearing/joining the course late and am concerned my DBS check won’t be completed before I am due to start the course. What should I do?

The University of Suffolk is aware that students can sometimes be offered a place on a course very close to the start date. You will need to get your DBS check in place as soon as possible. Therefore, please ensure you respond quickly to all contact from the University of Suffolk DBS Team regarding this (as well as other University staff helping you to ensure everything is in place as soon as possible).

I’ve decided to start at the next intake instead. Will I have to do the DBS process again?

If you have not completed the process, yes, you will have to start the process again unless you are able to provide a DBS certificate for the correct level of check which is registered with the Online Update Service.

If you have completed the process, please register your DBS certificate with the Online Update Service and keep the registration live. We can then do a live check using the Online Update Service when you are due to start the course, meaning you should not need to complete a new DBS check.

I’ve spent time travelling/living abroad. Do I need to provide anything extra besides my UK DBS check?

If you’ve been abroad for more than a year you will need to provide an overseas criminal check, this may be from multiple countries if you have spent time travelling. Please see further information above.

I’ve been given a deadline but can’t meet this. What should I do?

Please email DBS@uos.ac.uk to explain. Lack of communication often results on your record being escalated.

I don’t think I have the correct level of DBS check for my placement/employment. What should I do?

Please contact DBS@uos.ac.uk for advice unless you are employed. You should then consult with your HR department.

I should be employed for my course, but haven’t found a job yet/will be moving roles/changing my employer. What do I need to do?

Please contact DBS@uos.ac.uk for advice unless you are employed. You should then consult with your course leader.

Why have you contacted my course leader?

If you have not responded to our emails, and there remains something outstanding regarding your DBS clearance, in the first instance we will raise this with your course leader. Failure to respond or comply could lead to this being escalated further to the Head of the School and then to the Safeguarding Panel, which may result in suspension from practice and/or study, or withdrawal from the course.

Do you do DBS checks for staff and student ambassadors?

No – these are managed by our People and Organisational Department (our HR department). Please contact them for advice.

What information to you keep on my DBS application?

The DBS Team record appropriate information from your certificate such as the level and type of check, the date and number of your certificate, but we do not keep copies. It is very important you keep your original DBS certificate safe as your placement provider/future employer may need to see this. In order to check the Online Update Service, the person checking this must have verified your original certificate as this provides information on any convictions as well as the level of check. Once we have verified your original DBS certificate, we will not need to see the original again, but we will continue to check the Online Update Service each year. 

Can I start my placement once I receive my DBS certificate?

The University of Suffolk DBS Team will confirm when you have completed the DBS process. You must, however, wait to hear from the Placement Team and/or your Course Leader before entering into placement. This is because there may be other things besides your DBS which need to be in place first.

Do I need keep subscribed to the Online Update Service?

You must remain registered on the Online Update Service for the duration of your course (including if you have a break from study). The easiest way to do this is by automatic renewal of your subscription (which you can set up when you initially join the Online Update Service). It is your responsibility to keep this up to date (including your payment and contact details). If you allow this to expire, you will not be permitted to continue in placement until this has been resolved. This will mean paying for a new DBS check (£40) and going through the whole DBS process. You will also need to complete a new DBS check and re-join the Online Update Service if you officially change your name whilst on the course. Please contact the University DBS Team to arrange your new DBS check (this also costs £40).

Do I need to declare any changes to my criminal convictions status while studying?

Yes, you will also need to complete a Declaration each year to confirm that nothing has changed regarding your criminal status. If you need to declare something which could impact your ability to practice (or study), please contact the Safeguarding Team: safeguarding@uos.ac.uk